Former Canadian men’s national basketball team member and Olympian Greg Francis has died at the age of 48.
Greg Francis Cause of death
The cause of death has not been revealed.
Canada Basketball confirmed the news on Monday. Francis represented Canada at the FIBA Men’s World Championships in 1998 and the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
Tributes from former players and colleagues
Former national team player and coach Leo Rautins was among those who posted tributes online.
Rautins said on Twitter that he was shocked to learn of Greg Francis’ passing, describing him as a beautiful person who touched so many.
TSN Radio 690 Montreal’s NBA insider Peter Yannopoulos also expressed his condolences on Twitter, saying Francis had had a colossal impact as a coach and leader for many.
Francis’ basketball career and accomplishments
After a stellar high school career at Oakwood Collegiate Institute in Toronto, Francis played NCAA basketball with the Fairfield University Stags from 1994-1997.
The six-foot-three guard was honored with the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference second team in 1996 and went on to earn MAAC Championship MVP honors in the Stags’ title win in his senior and following season and has led the Stags to the NCAA Tournament.
Francis was inducted into the Fairfield Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003. After graduating, he played professionally for four years in Lebanon, Israel and England.
Francis’ coaching career
Francis became a coach after his playing career. He was assistant coach of the senior men’s national team in 2005 before becoming head coach of the men’s national under-18 team from 2006 to 2011.
He was also the men’s basketball head coach for the University of Alberta Golden Bears (2009-12), University of Waterloo Warriors (2013-15) and Tech University Ridgebacks. Ontario (2019-22).
Francis led the Golden Bears to a Canada West title and a CIS national silver medal in 2012. The Warriors also took to Twitter to express their sadness, saying Francis left an everlasting impression on their student-athletes.
Francis’ other contributions to basketball
Francis was named Men’s High Performance Director for Canada Basketball in 2015 and most recently served as Director of Sport Development for Ontario Basketball.
In the meantime, Francis served as the first head of basketball for CEBL and helped lead the league’s first-ever player showcase in 2018.
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