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ETOBICOKE, Ont – Samson Downey, who has been a staple with Humber basketball for nearly two decades, has been elevated to head coach of the Humber Hawks. Ray Chateau, Humber's Director of Athletics, announced the hiring on Thursday.

Chateau interviewed several outside candidates earlier this month but decided that Downey was the best person to keep the program – which has been to 35 consecutive OCAA postseasons – at a high level.

"Samson has been an integral part of building our men's basketball program to where it is today, and with his work ethic and high character, we believe he was the best candidate to keep us as a premier team in the OCAA for years to come," said Ray Chateau.

Downey will become the 12th head coach in program history, taking the reins from Patrick Au, who stepped down in April.

"I'm excited about the opportunity to build on the success that we've enjoyed in the Humber basketball program," said Coach Downey. "This is a dream come true. I want to thank the Humber administration and everyone involved in the search process, especially Ray Chateau."

Before joining the coaching staff, Downey played five seasons for the Hawks, capturing the 2005 Provincial Championship. He led Humber to a 74-14 (.813) OCAA record during his career, retiring with the third highest career free throw percentage in program history.

Downey played for two of the best basketball minds in CCAA history, learning from Hall of Famers Mike Katz and Darrell Glenn – who won 428 games at Humber, combined.

Former head coach Shawn Collins brought Downey on as an assistant coach in 2014 and the Hawks won the program's first national title in 14 years. The following season, Humber won its 14th OCAA championship and returned from Alberta with a national silver medal.

Downey has been instrumental in developing Humber's stringent defence, implementing detailed scouts of opposing teams that focused on a strategic approach to defending.

"Downey has an affinity for Humber and its values," added Chateau. "He has developed strong relationships with the student-athletes he coaches, and we have seen without a doubt that Downey can coach, teach and be a leader of young men."

On May 17, Coach Downey will see his first action as the head coach, when the Navy Midshipmen (NCAA DI) visit the North Campus Gym for an exhibition game against the Hawks. Admission is free, and the game will be streamed live on the Hawks Sports Network. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.