Ottawa's new professional basketball team has its first general manager, and it's someone basketball fans in the nation's capital and across Canada are familiar with.
The Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) announced Wednesday that Dave Smart will be the Ottawa BlackJacks' GM.
Smart will be expected to direct the basketball operations department of the team, while continuing to serve in his role with Carleton University.
"Creating a professional basketball program is an exciting challenge," he said. "Our city and the thousands of basketball fans deserve a team. I am honoured to be the first general manager in franchise history and look forward to seeing many familiar faces represent the Ottawa BlackJacks as the season unfolds. I am thankful to Carleton University for allowing me to accept this opportunity while continuing my role with the university."
Smart is considered the most successful coach in Canadian university men’s basketball history, as he earned a .925 (591-48) winning percentag with the Ravens from 1999-2000 through the 2018-19 season.
Smart led the Ravens to an unprecedented 13 U SPORTS Final 8 national championships in his 18 years as bench boss, including 11 Ontario University Athletics (OUA) titles, the most by any coach in conference history. His team success earned Smart the Stuart W. Aberdeen Memorial Trophy as U SPORTS Coach of the Year a record 10 times, in addition to 10 OUA East Coach of the Year honours and two OUA Coach of the Year awards.
In addition to his varsity-coaching career, Smart has also worked with Canada Basketball on numerous occasions. He led the U18 national team that captured the silver medal while hosting the FIBA U18 Americas Championship in 2018.
Smart was recently appointed a coaching consultant by the Ottawa Senators, focusing on player attitude.
A graduate of Queen’s University, the 53-year-old lives in Ottawa with his wife, Emily, and their two sons, Theo and Gabe. He was inducted into the Order of Ottawa by Mayor Jim Watson in 2016.
The BlackJacks tip off their inaugural season May 7 when they travel to St. Catharines for a date against the Niagara River Lions. The first home game is scheduled for May 14 at the Arena at TD Place against the Hamilton Honey Badgers.
All 20 regular season BlackJacks games will be streamed live on CBC Gem, CEBL TV and the Island Sports Network. Ottawa will also be part of a nationally televised broadcast as part of the CBC Game of the Week when the BlackJacks travel to Hamilton on May 30.