Wednesday, August 23, 2000

Teams Stick with Local Coaches

Hong-fu Rams hired Lee Chi-chan as its head coach and filled the last coaching vacancy of CBA teams. The hiring leaves the league without any foreign coach for the first time in league history.

A former Mars player, Lee also coached the team in two different stints and compiled a 51-54(.486) record. At one point he was a player/coach with the team. Lee was released as an assistant last year by Mars after the financial crisis of the Kuo-yang Group, which owned the Mars at the time.

Aside from Hong-fu, no other teams make coaching changes in the new season. Yulon stays with Chien Yi-fei, the only coach in its team history starting from 1994. Luckipar's Jack Mai will again be the only GM/coach in the league. Hong-kuo keeps Chiu Da-tsun, who was promoted from assistant after former American coach Paul Coughter left, as its head man. Chun Chi-men, who guided Mars to 1998 CBA Finals, also stays with the team.

In order to keep their budgets down, teams prefer lower-paid local coaches. Although they cannot but admit that most foreign coaches are better than locals in terms of basketball knowledge and coaching experience.

South Korean Cheng Kwon Hee of Dacin Tigers, the only foreign coach from the last CBA season (1999), left the team after his three-year contract expired. At the same time, Dacin announced it will not participate the 2000 CBA season. Tigers will play in the lower level A-League instead.

Prior to leaving Taiwan, Cheng led Taiwan Junior NT to bronze medal in this year's ABC Junior Championship.