WELLAND – Niagara College Athletics and Recreation is pleased to announce the appointment of Chris Rao as the Knights Women’s basketball head coach.
Rao takes over for former head coach Mike Beccaria, who retired after the 2018-2019 season.
Rao is a born and raised Wellander, attending Notre Dame College School before heading to the east coast to Cape Breton University. While working towards his degree in education, Rao became an assistant coach with the Cape Breton University Capers from 2014-2017. From there, he moved to Acadia University as an assistant coach with the men’s program for one season before returning to his alma mater in 2018-19 as lead assistant coach for the Capers.
Rao has also been involved in the provincial sport realm coaching with Basketball Nova Scotia. Since 2017 he has been an assistant with both the under-14 and under-17 boys programs, and is currently at the helm of the boys 15 and under program.
Although Rao’s resume weighs heavily on the men’s game, he’s confident the transition to the female game will be a good one.
“Coaching is coaching. At the end of the day, it’s about connecting and working with individuals” he says. “If you’re able to do that, success and positive culture will follow.”
The name Rao may strike a chord of familiarity with those in the Niagara region basketball scene. Brock University’s women’s basketball program recently inked a three-year deal with Rao’s father, Mike. With the father-son duo reunited in the Niagara region, Rao is hoping collaborate with the elder Rao to provide the best experience for both Brock and Niagara student-athletes.
“Being back home and near family is obviously very exciting” says Rao. “I’m extremely proud of my Dad and what he has done with the Brock women’s basketball program and we will continue to support each other as we have all along.”
The Knights will begin their quest for an Ontario Colleges Athletic Conference Championship under Rao on November 1st at home against Sheridan.
Rao will officially begin August 15th, with women’s basketball tryouts and training camp set to begin September 9th. Full training camp schedule.
For full 2019-2020 women’s basketball schedule, please visit goknights.ca
(Source: Niagara College news release)