The Hamilton Honey Badgers of the Canadian Elite Basketball League announced Tuesday that Raptors 905 assistant coach Ryan Schmidt has been appointed head coach for the 2020 season. He replaces inaugural season head coach Chantal Vallée, whose work at the University of Windsor precludes her from serving the Honey Badgers in a full-time capacity in 2020. She is expected to be a member of Schmidt’s coaching staff, which will be named at a later date.
“Ryan Schmidt is highly regarded in the Toronto Raptors organization and beyond for his ability to develop players through his knowledge of the game and ability to work effectively with high performers. A core function of the Canadian Elite Basketball League is to provide coaches, players, officials, and administrators with opportunities to develop their careers, so I’m thrilled to provide Ryan with his first opportunity to be a head coach at the professional level,” said Hamilton president John Lashway, “Ryan transitioned from being a professional player to coaching in a manner that has quickly earned respect from NBA, NBA G League, and Canadian National Team players and team personnel. This is an important next step in the upward trajectory of his career.”
Schmidt has led player development for Raptors 905 the past three seasons, resulting in multiple players being promoted to the Raptors, two players named to the All-NBA G League Team (Chris Boucher and Jordan Lloyd), and a G League Most Valuable Player (Boucher) and Defensive Player of the Year (Boucher). He has been responsible for advance game scouting and planning, and throughout his time with the team he has been accountable for offense, defense, and special teams that has included leading practice, game planning, and strategic execution.
The Honey Badgers named long-time Canadian National Team player Jermaine Anderson as their General Manager on December 19, 2019. Schmidt trained Anderson at the National Training Centre during the summer of 2017. The two worked together as player development coaches at the Centre the following two years. Like Anderson, Schmidt will report directly to Lashway.
Since May of 2017 Schmidt has worked with Canada Basketball to organize and lead workouts with members of the Junior and Senior Men’s National teams at the National Training Center. A native of Keizer, Oregon, Schmidt worked with high school and college athletes in a year-round player development program, coached the 17U team on the Nike EYBL circuit for Portland Basketball Club, assisted the World Team during the Nike Hoop Summit, and assisted with summer league practices with the Portland Trail Blazers. He was head coach with 22FT Academy in Greenville, South Carolina for four seasons, with his teams posting a 106-35 record and seeing 18 players receive NCAA Division 1 scholarships over that four-year period.
Following a playing career at Hawaii and then with Western Oregon University where he served as team captain for two seasons and led the Wolves in scoring as a senior, Schmidt was a 2008 draft selection by Idaho of the NBA Developmental League. He played for Honolulu in the American Basketball Association during the 2009-10 season. Schmidt trained for three consecutive summers in Las Vegas with Joe Abunassar at Impact Basketball.
Vallée led the Honey Badgers to a 10-10 regular season record and to the CEBL Championship game during their inaugural 2019 season. She became the first woman in the history of basketball to serve simultaneously as a head coach and a general manager of a men’s professional team. She began 2019 on sabbatical from the University of Windsor where she had led the powerhouse women’s basketball program to five consecutive national championships. Her Lancers were 20-10 this past season and reached the quarterfinals of the Ontario University Athletics tournament.
“While the year-round demands of her basketball program at the University of Windsor precludes her from continuing as head coach and general manager of the Honey Badgers, we’re grateful that Chantal Vallée will be able to continue to contribute to our organization in 2020,” said Lashway. “She took on a significant challenge in our inaugural season and did an exceptional job, especially in light of not having had previous experience coaching professional men. She will have a great opportunity to continue to contribute as well as to further develop as a coach with us this summer.”
Hamilton’s 2020 regular season was scheduled to tip off May 8 in Edmonton, but due to the coronavirus outbreak the CEBL was forced in mid-April to announce a delay to the start of the season into June. The league is pursuing various contingencies with federal and provincial health and government officials in order to play this summer.
Source: Hamilton Honey Badgers