Nelson Terroba said so far, Calgary is a lot like his hometown of Austin, Texas.
“As I walked through the streets of the city, and I learned more about Calgary, I learned that it’s more and more like Austin – except about 100 degrees colder,” Terroba said.
Terroba was announced Wednesday as the inaugural head coach for the Canadian Elite Basketball League’s (CEBL) Calgary Surge. It’s the final management piece for the club, which begins its first CEBL season in May.
Right now, Terroba is serving as the Associate Head Coach of the Texas Legends of the NBA G League. The Legends are the G League affiliate for the NBA Dallas Mavericks. He’s also served as an assistant coach with the CEBL’s Saskatchewan Rattlers, and as head coach and GM of the National Basketball League of Canada’s Saint John Riptide.
Terroba said he’s coached globally over the past 25 years, and now that he’s landed in Calgary, he’s excited to get to work.
“Our goals are simple. We want to have a team that Calgary is proud its own. A team that plays the right way,” Terroba said.
“We want to play tough. The fans who come watch us play at WinSport, we want them to see a team that’s connected, that plays defense, that rebounds, competes on a daily basis. A team that shares the basketball, that works willingly with each other and enjoys the process of winning.”
‘We wanted to get it right.’: Ribeiro
Calgary Surge Vice Chairman and President, Jason Ribeiro said it took some time to put this final piece in place. They set out on the coaching search late last year.
“The reason we’ve taken our time in announcing our head coach is because we wanted to get it right,” Ribeiro said.
Terroba’s name kept coming up in conversations, Ribeiro said.
“They described him as your kind of folk, your kind of people,” he said.
“They described him as an amazing basketball mind but above all else, a good man, and when I got the chance to meet with him, I knew very, very quickly that this was someone that we were going to stay close to, and ideally someone I was going to introduce to you all as our new head coach of the Calgary Surge.”
Calgary Surge GM Shane James said that Terroba has a wealth of knowledge and experience at the professional level. He said Terroba is a culture builder.
“Those attributes are extremely important in building a winning franchise,” James said.
“Nelson is also a phenomenal teacher of the game and I know our players will greatly benefit from his knowledge and skills.”
Terroba said his expectations for the first CEBL season are that the team defends at a high level. He wants to be the best defensive team in the league.
“In terms of what fans can expect, again, they can expect a competitive brand of ball. They can expect a fast-paced, exciting brand of basketball, but they can also expect a team that’s connected, that really enjoys playing the game the right way,” he said.
On the bench, Terroba said you can expect him to be a calm, measured and level-headed person.
“You’ll think, he looks a little too calm,” he said.
Practice is where the competition ratchets up. He said he wants to put players in a position to “recruit the best of themselves.”
He said during games, the players are amped up and he needs to be the calming influence.
“In practice, sometimes players are down here, and they kind of need a little jolt to get them up to the level of where they need to be to get ready for the game,” Terroba said.
The Calgary Surge begin their inaugural season with a home opener against the Edmonton Stingers on May 27 at 4 p.m. at the WinSport Event Centre. You can find tickets here.