Mike Katz, the longtime bench boss at Humber who guided the Hawks to five Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association National Championship titles in Men’s Basketball, will take his well-deserved place in the CCAA Hall of Fame. He will be honoured in the Coach category.
Katz led the Hawks to an incredible 10 podium finishes at CCAA Nationals during his career, which spanned from 1984 to 2003. In addition to his five CCAA National titles (1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 2001), he also earned three silver and two bronze medals.
“As a coach, he valued mentoring players, supporting his players on and off the court,” said Ray Chateau, Director of Athletics at Humber College. “He was not only making champions; he was helping to create an environment that these athletes could grow as individuals.”
Katz retired with a record of 241-52 in Ontario Colleges Athletic Association conference play as his teams advanced to the OCAA Final Four in each of his 19 seasons. He was also involved with Canada’s National Program for a number of years and represented the country as a member of the Olympic Team staff.
He is grateful for so many unforgettable CCAA moments.
“My fondest memories during my time in the CCAA was being part of the National Championships, which were hosted across the country,” said Katz. “It was always special to take your team throughout the country and experience the local support and enthusiasm for the tournament.”
Katz was named OCAA Coach of the Year on three occasions and earned the CCAA Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year award in 1995 and again in 2003. In 2001, he was the first ever recipient of the CCAA Coaching Excellence award, which annually recognizes coaching contributions to sport and to athlete development over a period of five years or more.
An extraordinary experience occurred for Katz toward the end of his illustrious coaching career, when a lifelong friend approached him with the notion of shooting a documentary film on the Hawks during the 2000-01 season.
The documentary, “The Team”, aired for eight weeks on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).
“As depicted in the documentary, one can see the challenges facing the players, and how, through his leadership, he molded these young basketball players into young men,” said Chateau.
Katz remembers the cameras being everywhere: During practices, games, in the dressing room and even in his player’s hotel rooms and homes.
“It allowed the Canadian public a first-hand account of how college players dealt with the responsibilities of school, basketball and work commitments that were onerous over a seven-month period,” said Katz.
Fittingly, the Hawks went on to capture the CCAA National Championship title on home soil that season at Humber College.
Katz was a member of the first ever class into the Humber Varsity Hall of Fame and then had a banner raised to the rafters, signifying the top honour any athlete, coach or builder can attain at the College. He was instated into the OCAA Hall of Fame in 2007 and was recently inducted into the Ontario Basketball Hall of Fame as well.