“Guelph, ON – In preparation for the Guelph Nighthawks second Canadian Elite Basketball League season today the club formally announced its full coaching staff, led by Head Coach and General Manager Charles Kissi. Joining Kissi on his staff is Lead Assistant Mike Rao, Assistant Coach of Player Development Arsalan Jamil, Assistant Coach Chris Rao, Assistant Coach Bob Urosevic, Assistant Coach Mike Girling, Assistant Coach Wumi Agunbiade and Video Coordinator Kareem Thawer.
Kissi returns to the Nighthawks after being named the club’s Head Coach and GM on July 8th, 2019. Kissi joins the Nighthawks from the Toronto Raptors G-League affiliate, the Raptors 905, where he is currently the Lead Assistant to Head Coach Jama Mahlalela. Kissi joined the Raptors 905 in 2018 where he helped guide the club to a 29-21 regular-season record, preparing players including Chris Boucher and Malcolm Miller for their roles with the Toronto Raptors on their run to the 2019 NBA Championship. Prior to joining the Raptors 905 Charles Kissi led the Brock University men’s basketball team, where over five seasons he transformed a 4-win program into a 31-win team, earning a berth in the USPORTS Final 8 national tournament in 2018. Kissi began his USPORTS coaching career with the Ryerson Rams women’s basketball program, where he earned his promotion to Head Coach in 2010.
Mike Rao joins Kissi’s staff as the Lead Assistant Coach after a standout season as Head Coach of the Brock University women’s basketball team, where his team won the OUA Championship and placed 2nd at the USPORTS National Championship in Ottawa. Rao was named OUA and USPORTS Coach of the Year for women’s basketball and OUA Coach of the Year in just his second season at the helm of the program. Rao was previously an assistant with Kissi at Brock before taking over the women’s program.
Arsalan Jamil and Wumi Agunbiade both join Kissi’s staff from the Raptors 905 organization. Previously a guard with Ryerson University, Jamil has spent the past 6 seasons as part of the Toronto Raptors basketball operations staff in numerous roles, including executive assistant to President and GM Masai Ujiri, and is currently the club’s Special Assistant Coach.
Agunbiade played four years at Duquesne University, followed by three years professionally overseas in Germany, Italy and Romania. After completing two years as a graduate assistant on the University of Pittsburgh’s women’s basketball team, Agunbiade joined the Raptors 905 as Junior Coach as part of their Mentee Coaching program. Agunbiade first met Kissi when she played club basketball in Scarborough for him at 15 years old.
Bob Urosevic joins the Nighthawks with a wealth of coaching experience at various levels, most recently as an Assistant Coach with the University of Waterloo men’s basketball team from 2015-2018. Urosevic has led the Viper U14 Elite, KW Vipers Elite boy’s and the KW Lightning girl’s programs over the past 20+ years.
Rounding out the impressive coaching staff that Kissi has assembled is current Head Coach of the Niagara College women’s basketball team Chris Rao, former graduate Assistant Coach with the Niagara University men’s basketball team Kareem Thawer, and returning Assistant Coach for the Nighthawks in 2019 and current Assistant Coach with the University of Waterloo men’s basketball team, Mike Girling.
“I couldn’t be more excited to have once again received the opportunity to lead this Nighthawks program and be a part of this league,” said Kissi. “What’s being built here is special and I think we put together the staff to be able to build on what we started late last summer.”
“Charles is a true leader and one of the bright young minds in the Canadian basketball landscape. I couldn’t be more eager to see him continue reshaping the basketball operations department and developing a long-term winning culture in Guelph that our fans so passionately deserve. Charles has done a remarkable job improving the talent on our roster. Now with his own coaching staff, which blends experienced leadership and young, determined staff, this is truly their time to show what Nighthawks basketball is fully capable of,”
said team President Cameron Kusch.
CEBL Commissioner and CEO Mike Morreale previously announced a delayed start to the league’s second season amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, the league is hopeful for a June tip-off but are being prudent in taking direction from public health and government officials in each of their seven markets to ensure the league puts the health and safety of fans, players, staff and officials first before making a return to the court. Once the 2020 league schedule is finalized the Nighthawks organization will provide further information on the start of training camp and a revised home schedule.
For more information and the latest Nighthawks updates please visit www.thenighthawks.ca.”
Director, Marketing, Communications and Events
Guelph Nighthawks Professional Basketball Club