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Raptors Name Assistant Coaches for 2007-08 Season

(June 14, 2007) -- The Toronto Raptors announced Thursday that assistant coaches Alex English and Jay Triano will return to the staff for the 2007-08 season. Mike Evans, a scout with the Raptors the past three seasons, is joining head coach Sam Mitchell’s staff as well. The team also announced that Dave Hopla will return as a basketball development consultant.

“This is an experienced staff that will continue to work effectively in developing our players and help a great deal with game preparation,” said Mitchell. “We’ll have the benefits of three returning members from last year’s staff who know our players, plus the addition in Mike of someone who’s been a head coach in this league and also a successful playing career. He knows our organization since he’s been a scout with us for three years.”

Mike Evans has head coaching experience at the NBA level. (NBAE/Getty Images)size>
English enters his fourth season with the Raptors following assistant coaching stints with Philadelphia (2003-04) and Atlanta (2002-03). He began his professional basketball coaching career in 2001-02 as the head coach of the National Basketball Development League’s North Charleston (S.C.) Lowgaters. In his lone season at the helm, English guided his team to a 36-20 record and a berth in the finals of the first NBDL Championship. English is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame and the NBA’s 11th all-time leading scorer with 25,613 points during a 15-year playing career.

Triano, a native of Niagara Falls, returns for the sixth season as a member of the Raptors’ coaching staff. He became the first Canadian born and Canadian trained coach in the NBA when he served as an assistant coach to Lenny Wilkens during the 2002-03 season.

Evans played nine NBA seasons before joining the Denver Nuggets coaching staff in 1990. He became interim head coach for Denver’s final 56 games of the 2001-02 season.

“Mike is a natural choice for a coaching position here in Toronto because he has an insider’s knowledge of the organization,” said Bryan Colangelo, Raptors president and general manager. “Mike’s vast NBA experience both as a player and bench coach should compliment our group quite well. Having spent considerable time with Mike this past year, I came away very impressed with his basketball acumen and insight.”

Hopla joined the Raptors in November 2006 as a basketball development consultant. He has worked with numerous NBA, WNBA and NCAA teams, including the Raptors during the team’s 2004 training camp at Brock University. His past clients include Ray Allen, Sue Bird and Kobe Bryant. Hopla also runs his own College and Youth camps during the summer.

Jim Todd will not return to the coaching staff after three seasons in the Raptors organization.

"Although not official yet, it seems Jim Todd has found a good spot to continue his coaching career in a familiar and comfortable place,” Colangelo said. “We wish him nothing but the best with his new team."

The Raptors completed the 2006-07 season with a record of 47-35 and tied the franchise mark for wins in a season. The team completed a 20-win turnaround to claim the Atlantic Division title and home-court in the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.