Retaining Claros is ‘gonna be a hard one,’ says Rainmen owner

The Halifax Rainmen are hoping to have their head coaching situation resolved by early next month.

Josep ‘Pep’ Claros, who brought the Rainmen closer to a championship than any coach in their five-year history, has returned to Barcelona to spend time with his family and ponder his coaching future.

Claros signed on as head coach last summer and guided the Rainmen to a 23-13 record and a spot in the National Basketball League of Canada final. After the season ended, he took over as head coach of the Pioneros de Quintana Roo and led them to a FIBA Americas League championship.

“That’s gonna be a hard one,” admitted Rainmen owner Andre Levingston. “I’m not sure about that yet. We would love to have coach back, naturally. He did a great job for us and hopefully we can retain him.”

Levingston said he’s giving Claros time to think it over and will meet with him next month.

In other news, the Rainmen have already decided on the five players they will protect from NBL Canada free agency. Although they don’t need to submit their protected list to the league until the end of the month, Levingston said he will protect guards Taliek Brown, Chris Hagan and Joey Haywood and forwards Tyrone Levett and Darnell Hugee.

It doesn’t mean those players will be back with the Rainmen, as they are still free to sign in other professional leagues and could receive more lucrative offers elsewhere. But Levingston is hoping he can keep as many of them around as possible.

“Those are guys we wanted to protect and when the time comes, we’ll try to sign them,” he said.

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