Humber’s new men’s basketball head coach Samson Downey says he is ready to meet the expectations that come with the head coaching job, but also wants to build the most successful student athletes possible.
The Hawks previous head coach Patrick Au stepped down from the team in April. Au led the team to a 15-5 regular season record and an OCAA silver medal this past season. He was also an assistant coach when the Hawks won the Nationals in the 2014-15 season.
Downey says he’s not replacing Au but rather building on Humber’s storied success.
“I don’t really look at it as filling a void left by coach Au. I played here and coached as an assistant for four years, its just about building on the success we’ve had in the past years and getting these guys to buy in and believe that we can win.”
Given Humber’s historical success Downey acknowledges the high expectations that come with coaching a team like Humber but believes the team has a strong group of players that can have a winning season.
“I don’t like to use the phrase ‘championship or bust’ but the goal is always provincials first then nationals. We’ve got a good mixture of guys here and I think we’re going to make some noise.”
He also says he looks to captains Dequon Cascart and Curwin Elvis to be leaders for the team. Downey says he can rely on them for assistance in taking on this role.
“Curwin is more of a lead by example guy and DQ is more of a vocal leader. He has exceptional leadership qualities and when he talks, guys listen. Those are my two vets that I can lean on.”
“Were excited for the season” says Elvis. “Coach Downey’s been with us for a while and we know he’s going to do a great job to help us win this year.”
Downey not only wants to have a successful legacy on the court but also wants his tenure to be remembered for building the best student athlete possible.
“A big thing for me is academics. Yes these guys are playing basketball but I definitely want these guys to walk away with at least a diploma or degree.”
“If you’re doing well in the classroom and you’re doing well on the court that’s the ultimate experience and I know I’ve done my job.”
Humber’s director of athletics Ray Chateau agreed on the importance of building strong student athletes.
“That’s what we’re here for student athletes so student first. Success in the classroom builds onto career options and life-long personal success.”
The Hawks’ first game is on October 19 at Fanshawe College where the team will start their season and quest for a championship.