The Halifax Rainmen shook things up yesterday, firing head coach Rick Lewis in a bid to make the playoffs.
Lewis had guided the Rainmen to a 6-5 record this season, third in the Premier Basketball League’s Atlantic Conference. But placing first in the conference is the only way to guarantee a playoff spot, and there are only nine games remaining.
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Owner Andre Levingston said the team has underperformed.
“I’m not getting results and something has to be done about it,” he said. “Our basketball team is too talented to be 6-5.”
Assistant coach Shannon Hansen will take over Lewis’s duties on an interim basis, but Levingston said he hopes to have a permanent replacement named by tomorrow.
Lewis generated plenty of public controversy after the Rainmen started the season 3-0.
He benched Eric Crookshank for half a game on Jan. 11, a move that led to the star forward’s season-long suspension.
He also benched all-purpose forward Cordell Jeanty for the entire game on Sunday.
Crookshank and released guard SirValiant Brown both publicly criticized Lewis’s coaching tactics, and the Rainmen followed their perfect start with five losses in eight games.
Lewis’s decision to bench Crookshank and Jeanty did not appear to factor into his firing, as Levingston said, “Coaches don’t bench players … Players bench players.”
Levingston said he wants to see more movement on offence, more defensive tenacity, and smarter in-game adjustments. But his biggest beef with Lewis was game preparation.
“I didn’t feel this team was prepared enough to go to war in big games,” Levingston said.
“That falls on coaching.”
Levingston said the players “embraced” the move.
“They wanted to hear another voice, for someone to prepare them to contend for a championship,” he said.
Levingston ruled out taking over Lewis’s duties himself, saying he “couldn’t mix” ownership and coaching.
The Rainmen also announced late yesterday they had released little-used guard Rodney Mayes.