Raptors 905 are adding Charles Kissi as an assistant on Jama Mahlalela’s coaching staff, Raptors Republic has learned.
Kissi has spent the last five seasons as the head coach and manager of basketball operations at Brock University. The 37-year-old helped lead Brock to a 21-3 record in the OUA this past season, culminating in a berth in the USports Final 8 and a consolation championship. That’s a long way from the four-win program he took over, and Brock has been built into a consistent contender over the past few seasons. In 2015-16, Kissi was named the Brock University Coach of the Year, and he’s had a pair of OUA Rookies of the Year and a CIS First-Team All-Canadian play under him in the last half decade, and he leaves with a robust 107-72 career record. Kissi received a three-year contract extension in 2016, but it appears he’s been let out of it to join the 905.
Prior to joining Brock, Kissi was the head coach of the Ryerson University women’s team and an assistant with the program before that. He’s also been the team manager for the men’s basketball team in the FISU World University Championships and coached at the club level extensively. Before shifting into coaching, Kissi played at McMaster University, twice making the national championship tournament and winning the 2003 Liam Stevens Award for the player who best exemplifies a positive attitude, hard work, and determination. He also spent a decade as a police officer while building up his coaching resume.
Over the last several years, Kissi has taken part on the Toronto Raptors’ coaching open house program, which allowed local coaches to occasionally sit in on practice sessions and be mentored by the Raptors staff, including former head coach Dwane Casey. Casey became a sort of mentor for Kissi during Kissi’s time as an apprentice head coach and the two spoke highly of each other.
Mahlaela has been around through all of that, and there’s more than just a USports connection between the two here (Mahlalela played at the University of British Columbia and was an assistant coach at the University of Toronto). Kissi was around the Raptors at Las Vegas Summer League earlier this month to further that working relationship, and with Mahlalela’s staff up in the air some – it’s unclear which assistants from Jerry Stackhouse’s staff may remain for 2018-19 – landing an experienced assistant familiar with the organization is a nice piece of business for the 905.