Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Inside Toronto on Roy Rana's new position at Ryerson

Roy Rana will hit the court at Ryerson: Eastern Commerce coach moves to university level

Roy Rana, the head coach of Eastern Commerce's very successful senior boy's basketball program, is graduating to the university ranks.
Rana, who led the Saints to four provincial championships, five city titles and eight at the regional level, has accepted a full-time post with Ryerson University.

The former physical education teacher, instrumental in brokering numerous Canadian and U.S. scholarships over the years, will get his first taste of coaching at the university level in a pre-season match-up against McMaster Oct. 8.

Rana, who coached the Canadian men's Cadet squad to a bronze medal and a berth at the under-17 world championships in Germany next year, is being counted on to extend upon Ryerson's 7-15 regular season finish last campaign.

The Rams made it into the playoffs for the first time in seven years, but were bounced out in the semis by the Ottawa Gee Gees.

"It's certainly going to be a learning experience, but I'm excited," he said, noting with seven returning players he's aiming to go deeper into the post season.

"There are tons of great coaches in that league so it'll definitely be a challenge, but I'm up for it."

Kevin Jeffers, his former coaching partner, is taking over the helm at Eastern. Trevor Bullen, who has been with Eastern in one form or another for 15 years, will join him.

Jeffers said although Rana won't be calling the shots for the Saints anymore you can rest assured his signature run-and-gun style will prevail.

"He taught me what it's like to be a coach at the high school ranks," he said.

There's a bit of irony to Rana moving on.

"It was definitely a surprise, but at the same time I wasn't that surprised," he said about the sudden news a couple weeks ago. "For years we've celebrated moving players on and now we're celebrating moving one of our finest coaches on. It's ironic.

"You're happy to see him go, but at the same time you wish he could stay."

The Ontario University Athletics season is still about a month away, but Rana is already feeling a sense of nostalgia for his former team at Eastern.

"I'm going to miss a lot of things," Rana said.

"It's just a phenomenal family of basketball people, the culture is great, being a part of the high school setting, working and developing the kids. The tradition of Eastern, it's a very, very special place and everyone that has ever been a part of that program understands what that means."

Former Saints Jason Dawkins and Collin Charles will help in coaching Ryerson this year.

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