A new chapter is already in motion for Brock University athletics as Charles Kissi was named the seventh head coach in Brock men’s basketball history, just a few weeks ago.
Kissi has been involved with the game of basketball on a very high level in the past, but actually started coaching by accident. After being asked one day to give coaching a shot, he instantly fell in love with it.
Kissi’s basketball resume as a coach is just as virtuous as it is as a player. As a former player at McMaster University, he was lucky enough to compete in two national championships. He also was the team’s 2003 recipient of the Liam Stevens Award, which is awarded to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of positive attitude, hard work and determination.
Those qualities that come with winning the Liam Stevens Award are definitely assets that Kissi has translated into his coaching method. Kissi’s Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) coaching career started as an assistant coach with the Ryerson Rams women’s basketball team in 2009.
After one year as an assistant coach, he was promoted as the head coach for the 2010-11 season and then guided the team to an Ontario University Athletics (OUA) East Final Four berth that season.
After his work with Ryerson, Kissi moved to the club level as the head coach of the Tri-County Thunder Junior Elite Team in 2012-13.
Kissi’s hard work and excellence as a coach was recognized in early 2013, as he had the luxury to be mentored by Toronto Raptors head coach Dwayne Casey. As part of a one-year program, Casey played the role as a mentor to Kissi, offering advice, support and encouragement.
When asked about what he has learned from Casey throughout the mentorship, Kissi added, “Every day you wake up and learn. You learn little technical things and different ways to motivate and challenge guys.”
“I always want to learn from people and build from it,” added Kissi. “Always looking to develop and find ways to mould.”
Brock is lucky to have Kissi as their new head coach, and not only is Kissi excited about the opportunity, but so are his colleagues.
“We are very fortunate to have Charles at the helm,” said assistant athletic director Chris Critelli. “Charles falls in line with our mission, vision and values as he not only will provide great coaching, he will be a great asset holistically to our student athletes,” she added.
These kind words exemplify the kind of man that Kissi is, and the reason why he decided to choose Brock in the first place. Not only does Brock have a good basketball program, but Kissi also recognized the academics and history of the school as a reason to his decision.
“Brock is growing in all of the right ways. It is really expanding and broadening,” said Kissi. “There’s a lot of investment in academics, and then in an athletic perspective, it’s had a rich history of success,” noted Kissi.
The great leadership from top-to-bottom was another reason why Kissi was happy to come to Brock, as well as the high-level experience that Brock has to offer.
“This is an environment that I am going to grow in,” said Kissi. “If you surround your self with capable people, then you will be capable and competent and you will strive.”
In terms of the basketball team itself this year, the players that have shown up for training camp are all excited to get back to work and play basketball. It would be a bold prediction to say that the Badgers are front-runners for a National Championship this season, but that doesn’t mean the team isn’t going to be a fun team to watch, that’s for sure.
The team is shaping up to be a very fast and athletic team, as the loss of some big men will mean the team will have to rely more on fundamentals, then size this season.
“We are going to be fast and athletic. We have to play smart, play up-tempo and end-to-end basketball to put pressure on them,” noted Kissi. “We have a very young group, so there will be some growing pains, but I am excited for it. The guys are eager and competition gets better every day,” he added.
When asked about how the team will compare to last year’s team, Kissi added that he never compares to others, as you have to grow yourself. As a coach, it is incredibly important to have a short-term memory, so this logic should translate to success for the newly appointed head coach.
“This is a building year. I just want to build from where we are right now and everyone has an opportunity,” said Kissi.
Kissi is a great addition to the Brock Badgers coaching staff, and his values and motives should fit in well this season. The win total may not be as high as it usually is in years past, however this should not be a knock to Kissi. Expect the Badgers to be one of the most motivated and hardest working teams in the entire CIS.
The Badgers open up their pre-season at home against the University of Montreal on October 13. The Badgers will also host the Brock Classic this season from October 24-26 when they face Saint Mary’s, Regina and York University. OUA regular season play will start on November 1 when Brock plays host to Kissi’s former team, the Ryerson Rams.