Former Canadian Olympian Greg Francis Dead at 48

Former Canadian men’s basketball national team member and Olympian Greg Francis has died at the age of 48.

Greg Francis Cause of death

The cause of death was not released.

Canada Basketball confirmed the news on Monday. Francis competed for Canada at both the 1998 FIBA men’s world championship and 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

Tributes from former players and colleagues

Former national team player and coach Leo Rautins was among a number of those who posted tributes online.

Rautins said on Twitter that he was shocked to learn about the passing of Greg Francis, describing him as a beautiful person who touched so many people.

TSN Radio 690 Montreal NBA insider Peter Yannopoulos also expressed his condolences on Twitter, saying that Francis made a colossal impact as a coach and leader for many.

Francis’ basketball career and achievements

After a successful high school career at Toronto’s Oakwood Collegiate Institute, Francis played NCAA basketball with the Fairfield University Stags from 1994 to 1997.

The six-foot-three guard was an all-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference second team honouree in 1996 and later earned MAAC Championship MVP honours in the Stags’ title win in his senior, and following, season and 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 moved into coaching after his playing career. He served as an assistant coach on the senior men’s national squad in 2005 before becoming head coach of the national men’s under-18 team from 2006 to 2011.

He also served as the men’s basketball head coach for the University of Alberta Golden Bears (2009-12), the University of Waterloo Warriors (2013-15), and the Ontario Tech University Ridgebacks (2019-22).

Francis led the Golden Bears to a Canada West title and a CIS national silver medal in 2012. The Warriors also expressed their sadness on Twitter, saying that Francis left an everlasting impression on their student-athletes.

Francis’ other contributions to basketball

Francis was appointed as the manager of men’s high performance at Canada Basketball in 2015 and most recently held the role of Director of Sport Development for Ontario Basketball.

In between that time, Francis was the first head of basketball for the CEBL and helped lead the league’s first-ever player showcase in 2018.

Former Canadian Olympian Greg Francis Dead at 48

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