Former Island Storm bench boss Joe Salerno has been hired to coach Moncton Magic.
The Moncton Magic were focused on landing a head coach and general manager with a proven track record as they prepare for their first season in the National Basketball League of Canada.
They accomplished that with Wednesday’s announcement that Joe Salerno has been hired to fill both positions. He was head coach and vice-president of player personnel of the Island Storm the past six seasons and that team was consistently in the upper half of the NBL Canada throughout his tenure.
Salerno guided the Storm to four Atlantic Division finals, two of which they won, and also two trips to the league final. He was named the league’s Coach of the Year in 2013, all-star head coach in 2013 and 2014, and he’s the only person who’s been a head coach in this league for its entire six-year history.
“It’s exciting to come to Moncton and take on a new challenge,” he said. “I really look at this as a great opportunity with the Moncton Magic. It’s exciting to come to an expansion franchise and work from the ground floor and try to put your own stamp on a brandnew team.
“I met with a few NBL Canada teams after my time was done with the Storm and I was really impressed with the ownership group and upper management in Moncton. I just felt that with this ownership group and upper management the Magic would be a great team to work for. They’re 100 per cent committed to making this a winning team and so am I.”
The Moncton Miracles were in the NBL Canada for the past six seasons and they had a bleak existence with just one .500 record, one playoff series win, financial struggles and unstable ownership.
They were operated by the league last season and they struggled partly because they were under funded.
The Miracles folded two weeks ago and the league then awarded Moncton an expansion franchise. The Magic, who are under the new ownership of prominent Moncton businessmen Jon Manship, David Booth and Jeremy Milburn, will begin play when next season starts in November.
The Magic have a new seating plan which includes 52 prime seats in the lower bowl. These prime seats and season tickets are now on sale at the Moncton Coliseum box office.
Salerno has nine seasons of coaching experience at the professional level, including six in the NBL Canada. He was the first head coach to reach 100 career wins in regular season in the NBL Canada.
Salerno is leaving this week on a player recruiting trip to Chicago, Las Vegas and Toronto. He points out that recruiting is a year-round process and he stayed in contact with players even when he was in between jobs in P.E.I. and Moncton.
“There’s a lot of players I’ve coached in recent years that were interested in knowing where I would be coaching next season,” he said. “I’ve had some talks with players, but obviously we’re waiting for the protected lists to come out from the league so you’ve got to be careful about who you’re talking to (so that you’re not fined for tampering).”
Joe Salerno is pictured here coaching an Island Storm practice in this Guardian file photo. He was let go by the Storm following this past season and has just signed on with Moncton’s new National Basketball League of Canada franchise.