Windsor, ON - Chris Oliver, head coach of the Lancer men's basketball team has announced he will be taking a sabbatical for the 2015-16 season, effective September 1, 2015.
In his absence, former Lancer captain and OUA all-star Ryan Steer will take over at the helm as the acting head coach for the Lancers.
While on sabbatical, Oliver will work with professional teams and basketball training academies around the world. During this time, he will also share his knowledge through camps and clinics on behalf of various academies and organizations.
For Coach Oliver, he is looking forward to the opportunity to enhance his coaching and educational portfolio.
"I am grateful for the opportunity the University of Windsor and Department of Athletics have afforded me to be able to immerse myself in a year of learning and sharing basketball around the world," said Oliver.
Steer, a Windsor native, will take over for Oliver for the year in his absence. Currently a teacher with the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board, Steer will take a partial leave from his position to lead the Lancers through the 2015-16 season.
"I believe Ryan is a great fit to lead our program this year and to push the team to be the best it can be while I am away. I fully expect Ryan, our staff and the players to impact our program positively without skipping a beat."
Steer is appreciative of the support he has received from the school board for allowing him to pursue this opportunity and he is excited about the chance to give back to the Lancer program and the student-athletes.
"I am thankful to the WECDSB for granting me this unique opportunity and I look forward to helping make a positive impact on the lives of our student-athletes," said Steer. "Since the day I graduated from the University of Windsor, it has been a goal of mine to be a head coach at the CIS level. It is truly a dream come true to be able to contribute to the program that I took part in for five years."
Steer enjoyed an outstanding playing career in Windsor as he was a two-time OUA all-star and captained the Lancers to their first OUA Championship in 28 years in 2006-07. During that season, Ryan was one of the top point guards in Canada, averaging 7.1 assists which ranked him second in the nation. Steer still sits second all-time in Lancer history in career assists with 521.
He also played professionally for one season in Germany and helped coach a development team there as well.
No stranger to the local basketball coaching scene, Steer spent a season coaching alongside Oliver as an assistant in 2010 and helped lead that team to the CIS national championship tournament. He then branched out as co-founder of the Jr. Lancers program, an AAU travel basketball team for elite players from Windsor-Essex, Chatham and Sarnia. He has previously coached current Lancer players Mike Rocca, Marko Kovac and Stefan Tosic as well as incoming recruit Ian Smart.
Ryan has also coached locally at the high school level, including at Holy Names, St. Thomas of Villanova and Catholic Central.
"Coach Oliver's knowledge of the game and commitment to the team has allowed me to develop as both a player and a coach over the past ten years. As the upcoming year's head coach, I look forward to bringing the same passion and dedication to the program that I did during my playing years as a Lancer," said Steer. "I am eager to share my knowledge and experiences with our players and to help them become the best players and team that we can be. This is an exciting opportunity and I can't wait to get started."
Source: Windsor Lancers