Ooks’ Connolly Accepts MacEwan Position

EDMONTON, Alta. – NAIT Ooks longtime men's basketball head coach, Mike Connolly will be moving on from the ACAC, as he has accepted the men's basketball head coaching position for the MacEwan University Griffins who compete in the Canada West Conference of U SPORTS.

"As sad it is that Mike will be moving on from NAIT Athletics, we are so happy for him and wish him the best of luck at MacEwan. Mike has earned the opportunity to coach at the next level and I know he will be successful anywhere he goes. Having had the opportunity to witness Mike and his team capture the 2016 CCAA National championship was truly spectacular and lead me to believe future titles could be coming at MacEwan", said NAIT Athletics Manager, Jordan Richey.

Connolly has coached the Ooks for the past six seasons. While at NAIT, he owned a 111-51 record which includes an ACAC Championship, a CCAA National Championship in the 2015-2016 season and his third career ACAC Coach of the Year award in 2014-2015.

"I've really enjoyed my time at NAIT. We were able to build the program up into one of the best in the country. NAIT supported us in all of our successes. They made my time here wonderful for myself and my family; I thank them for that. It was rewarding to see our student-athletes achieve success both on the court and in the classroom," said Connolly.

Connolly won't be moving far, three kilometres to be exact. He is relocating just down 109 street in Edmonton to MacEwan University where he will trade in his navy and yellow for maroon and white as he takes the reigns of the Griffins men's basketball team.

"I am extremely excited and honoured to be coaching at MacEwan University compete in U SPORTS, the highest level of competition in the country. I look forward to working with the staff and faculty there to help our student-athletes be the best they can be," said Connolly. " I can't wait to get to work with the guys in the program and to come together to be the best team we can be."

Mike, a graduate of the National Coaching Institute at the University of Victoria, leaves the CCAA with an overall record of 223-202. Over the past thirteen seasons in the CCAA he has split time between Medicine Hat College, Keyano College and NAIT. Mike returns to U SPORTS where he began his head coaching career with Lethbridge University for seven seasons.

"I have observed Mike as a student-athlete, assistant coach and head coach and watched his development into a high-performance program leader," said MacEwan Director of Athletics, Ken Schildroth. "He respects the academic mission of the university, brings a wealth of experience, personal integrity, work ethic and a proven success record to our program."

An announcement concerning the NAIT Ooks men's basketball coaching staff will be made at a later date.  All inquiries should be directed to Jordan Richey– E:jrichey@nait.ca P: 780-471-7579.

Sam Nahrgang • Sports Information • (780) 471-7606 • snahrgang@nait.ca