Rainmen hire former rival Spon as head coach

The Halifax Rainmen have brought in a long-time rival to be their new head coach.

Rob Spon, previously head coach of the Quebec Kebs and Manchester Mill Rats, was hired Thursday and will replace Cliff Levingston, who was fired on Tuesday after a 2-3 start to the National Basketball League of Canada season.

“He wins — he’s a proven winner everywhere he’s coached,” said Rainmen owner Andre Levingston. “He’s one of the most qualified coaches without a job in North America right now and we’re excited to have him come in. He’s been a nemesis of ours and we’ve had some of our best games against him.”

Spon guided the now-defunct Kebs to the NBL Canada playoffs last season with a 22-14 record before falling to the Rainmen in the semifinals. He also went 16-4 with the Mill Rats — who later moved to Saint John, N.B. — in the Premier Basketball League in 2009-10 and had a 1-4 stint with the Maryland Nighthawks in the same circuit in 2010-11.

“He’s a players’ coach, he’s very well organized, he’s a no-nonsense guy, and he’s a guy who loves defence, same as I do, so I think we’re going to make a good team,” Levingston said. “He has competed for a championship every year and he’s definitely who we want leading our team.”

Spon won’t arrive until Monday, meaning Colter Simmonds will serve as interim head coach when the Rainmen host the Moncton Miracles on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Metro Centre.

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