Roy Rana and his protege Patrick Tatham
Written by Charles Vanegas for On Point Basketball
Ryerson Athletics announced Monday that head coach Roy Rana will be taking a leave of absence for the 2015-16 season, with assistant coach Patrick Tatham taking over on an interim basis.
“I am grateful to our team, staff and department in understanding and supporting my need to take time to concentrate on my family, re-energize and continue growing as a coach and person,” Rana said in the team release. “I’m very proud of the strong, positive culture we’ve built in our program and know we have the right leadership and character in our players and coaches to keep us operating at the highest level this upcoming season.”
In six seasons under Rana, the Rams have compiled a record of 82-45 in the regular season, making two trips to both the OUA Final Four and CIS Final 8, winning an OUA silver medal in 2012 and CIS bronze in 2015. Rana joins Carleton’s Dave Smart and Windsor’s Chris Oliver as high-profile coaches taking a sabbatical for the upcoming OUA season.
Tatham, who has been on Rana’s staff for five seasons, provides the Rams with an element of continuity after losing Rana and team captain Jahmal Jones, who recently signed a professional contract with Turi Svitavy in the Czech Republic.
“It’s about keeping the culture the same. We don’t want this to be too much of a shock for the guys,” said Tatham.
Tatham says Rana first mentioned the possibility prior to leaving to lead Canada at the U19 FIBA World Championship in Heraklion, Greece from June 27-July 5. But the issue didn’t come up again until last Tuesday, when Rana told him that he was indeed taking a year off from the team. Later in the week, Rana held a meeting to inform the players.
This isn’t the first time Rana’s taken a year off. While often credited with winning five OFSAA titles while at Eastern Commerce, Rana is quick to point out he only won four (2003,’04,’05,’09).
“In ‘02 I took a sabbatical year. But it was probably the best year of my life… even though I didn’t get to be part of a championship team,” Rana said in December. “I travelled with a backpack for 10 months with my wife and covered the planet, doing things we probably would never get the chance to do again. [It was] no occasion. I like to travel, she likes to travel, and we just decided we were going to go on an adventure.”
The 31-year-old Tatham, a former pro in Europe and the Middle East, said he never envisioned getting this opportunity when he first joined the Ryerson staff in 2010 — when he was working two additional jobs to get by.
“I came in here at [age] 26, and I told Roy that I wanted to be here for two years and then go back to the States and get into the NCAA, bounce around until I get something. And he said ‘give me two years, and we’ll see what happens,’ ” said Tatham. “After that second year, I was almost 29 and I thought ‘man, I could actually coach at this level in another three years.’
Patrick Tatham ready to sheer the ship for 2015/2016
The assistant role eventually led to a full-time job as lead assistant coach, with Rana giving Tatham more responsibilities to prepare him for a head coaching position, including calling and drawing up plays in timeouts and even handing over the reins during the team’s 2013 tour of China. Tatham, also known as “P.T.,” has most recently interviewed for head coaching positions at Nipissing and Trinity Western.
“It came down to the last few guys, but in the end, it was ‘we really want someone with head coaching experience,’ ” said Tatham. “I am slightly ahead of the curve [by getting a chance as interim coach] but I’m definitely looking forward to being a head coach one day in the CIS.”
The announcement is just another positive note this week for the Tatham family. On Sunday, Patrick’s sister, Tamara, won a gold medal with the women’s national team at the FIBA Americas Championship in Edmonton, and was named a tournament all-star. The win —less than a month after winning gold at the Pan Am Games in Toronto — earned Canada a berth at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
Photos by Charles Vanegas
Edited by Drew Ebanks