The Ottawa Senators have decided to tap into the world of sports to help improve their franchise as the team has hired Canada’s most accomplished men’s basketball coach, Dave Smart, as a consultant, according to Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch. Smart, who won 13 USports Men’s National Championships throughout his coaching career, carried a .925 winning percentage against USports competition, and won the OUA Coach of the Year award 13 times as well, in his time with Carleton University, will be expected to help out with the team’s young core.
“The reason he’s on board is he’s the winningest coach in college basketball with the championships that he has,” said Ottawa head coach D.J. Smith. “Whether it’s hockey, basketball, baseball, football whatever, it’s still coaching and you’re dealing with people. He’s here to kind of help me in a senior role to see ’Are we pushing the guys enough?’ ’Are we pushing them too hard?’ And give us perspective from his side.”
It’s not as unusual as it sounds, however. Smart has actually been brought in by the Senators for several years now to speak to their prospects during the club’s rookie training camp in the summers, according to TSN’s Ian Mendes. An exceptional motivational speaker, Smart’s words truly affected Smith, who was brought in this summer by Ottawa to be the team’s new head coach due to his strong ability to connect with young athletes. With the team in full rebuild mode, Smith convinced Ottawa management to bring him in on a more regular basis.
“I listened to him talk to our young guys at rookie camp and I thought it was exceptional,” said Smith. “Just his view on how you put winning teams together and it’s very similar to what I believe in. I just said that’s a guy I can use.”
Smart, who retired in March of this year, taking a new position over at Carleston University, Director of Basketball Operations. Smart is expected to play the fly-on-the-wall and observe everything from the coaching staff to the players.