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Former Ooks men’s basketball coach Mike Connolly headed back to USPORT level

By Admin User on April 25, 2019

After six years at the helm of the men’s basketball program, Mike Connolly has been named head coach of the men’s basketball team at MacEwan University.

Connolly started his coaching career at Lethbridge University before coming to the ACAC (Alberta Colleges Athletics Conference). After this last season with the Ooks, Connolly is headed back to the U Sports level.

According to Connolly, the proximity to NAIT was a big factor in accepting the job.

“It’s gonna allow me to have continued success with NAIT because I’m gonna be able to send them players that we can’t get in. We’re gonna keep ties, we’re down the road, we’re gonna do stuff,” Connolly said.

In his six seasons with the Ooks, Connolly amassed a coaching record of 111-51 (a .685 winning percentage), a provincial and national championship from 2016 and the ACAC coach of the year award in 2015. For Connolly, the results themselves aren’t the most special parts of his time as an Ook.

“Some of the special moments are when we have kids giving up themselves for the team. One of the special moments we had in that national championship was in the provincial final when we had two captains, two all-stars come up to [the coaches] down the stretch of the game saying ‘coach, go with these guys in the game. Don’t worry about us.’ To me that was the most fulfilling to have a group of guys that worried about the team and the team’s success instead of their own personal success,” Connolly remembered.

For Connolly, it’s those special bonds with his players that he has focused more on developing over his years in the ACAC. It’s also something he’s taking with him to MacEwan.

Connolly is working with the Ooks to find his replacement. He begins his duties on April 1.



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