Joe Salerno appointed Syria national team coach

The Syrian Basketball Federation has hired American coach Joe Salerno to lead its men’s national team.

The 39–year-old Salerno will begin his tenure in charge for Syria’s FIBA Asia Cup qualifying games next month, according to published reports.

Syria faces Qatar and Iran on November 27 and 30 in Qatar, as FIBA Asia stages games in a bubble in the Gulf nation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

From 2011-17, Salerno coached the NBL’s Summerside/Island Storm in Canada before taking over the league’s Moncton Magic in the same years as his departure from the Storm.

Joe Salerno, a three-time NBL Coach of the Year (2013, 2019, 2020), guided the Magic to an NNL title in 2019.

End of an era at Moncton

Joe Salerno’s contract was not renewed after the COVID-19-shortened season.

As a result, he searched for a new job opportunity.

“This was troublesome news, as I would have liked nothing more then to return to the Magic for a 4th season and continue to build on what we had accomplished during my time here,” Salerno wrote on Twitter.

He added: “When I was hired by the organization, l was told that bringing a winning team to the city of Moncton was a main priority. I felt I did this to the best of my abilities from my first day on the job. Although I was greatly disappointed with this decision by the Magic, I would like to thank them as well, for giving me the opportunity to bring a Championship to the city my family now calls home.

“Most importantly, I would like to again thank the fans and people of Moncton for welcoming us here with open arms.

“The relationships and friendships we have made here will be lifelong. This is not how I would have wished or expected things to end, but I like to think my efforts here have positively impacted the lives of many, and for that, I am proud and will continue to hold my head high.”

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