The Chinese Taipei Basketball Association (CTBA) named Taiwan Beer assistant coach Chou Jun-san as the new head coach of the Taiwan national team this past Sunday, sending a shockwave to the local basketball community.
If my memory is correct, Chou is the first assistant to be named to such a position.
Chou’s appointment means that TB head coach Yen Chia-hua was by-passed.
Why? Because Yen was not certified as the Grade-A coach, a requirement in CTBA’s regulation for anyone to be considered a NT head coach candidate.
Former CTBA President Mao Kao-wen, who has resigned from his post due to illness, has made clear that the new head coach of Taiwan national team will be head coach of the SBL champion.
In other words, Mao doesn’t want to hire a foreign coach, such as South Korean Chung Kwang-suk who led Taiwan to fifth place — its best finish in the tournament since 1999 — in the 2009 FIBA Asia men’s basketball championship, to coach the national team.
According to Mao’s wish, Yen should be a shoo-in as the new Taiwan NT head coach.
However, local basketball observers have had mixed reviews about Yen, who did not develop as a basketball coach the conventional way because he had no previous coaching experience before coaching a team in the amateur league and later Taiwan Beer in the SBL.
Yen functioned as more of a general manager than a head coach, in my opinion, since he relinquished much of the substitution and on-court coaching decision to his assistant Chou Jun-san.
The CTBA uses a system to regulate coaches and referees nationwide with ranks of Grade-A, Grade-B and Grade-C. In Grade-A certification, coaches need to attend a seminar before taking tests. Then they will be given scores.
The scoring system heavily favors coaches with prior experiences as NT coaches or players on different levels and those who graduated from sports-related institutes.
That means Yen is not likely to get a high score and pass the test.
Local media criticized the CTBA national team committee for sticking up to the rule and chose an assistant instead.
The most interesting thing was that Chou said he would hire Yen as his assistant on the national team. Which means the TB assistant will be a NT head coach and his TB boss will be his assistant on the national team. How crazy is that?
I — like most people — have doubts on Yen’s coaching ability. But at the end of the day, I think the CTBA should seriously consider scrapping the Grade-A requirement. Basketball coach is a professional business, but it’s not a profession that can be graded or need to be certified like Microsoft engineers.