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Mihai Raducanu is building a team culture for the Mountaineers

Mihai Raducanu is the head coach of the Mohawk Mountaineers women’s basketball team. The Hamilton native has been involved with the sport for many years, from being a player at Coastal Carolina University to being a coach at Mohawk College.

After his time in college and after going undrafted in the 2004 NBA draft, Raducanu switched gears and went from being a player to coaching basketball at various levels with his passion for the sport playing a role in the change.

“Just the love of the game,” he explained. “When I was 28 years old, somebody asked me to help this kid to be better and then I figured out that I was good at it and then I continued to do it.”

“Then it continued to grow, it grew from one kid to a full local business, to a provincial business to a country-wide business to an international business. And I’ve been coaching for 16 years now,” he added.

He was approached by Mohawk College to help the school’s athletics program and would eventually be given a coaching role. Being a Hamilton native, he saw a great opportunity to help the Mountaineers.

“I thought it was a cool thing to get into because I was already here helping the college, helping the college athletic department grow and build, and do something special with the new era of the Mountaineers,” he said.

“When that opportunity came up to step right in, my friend asked me to do it and I was more than happy to be in and coach for the Steel City,” he added.

He is currently in his second season of coaching the Mountaineers, starting out as an interim coach and moving on to head coach.

Raducanu coached his team to a 12-4 record this season, improving from last year when they finished 5-11.

Raducanu has enjoyed his time coaching the Mountaineers, saying one of the most fun things about coaching for him is building the team and setting up the team culture.

“Building all of the building blocks, everything that we need to do in order to set up a positive culture, a holistic culture to make sure our players develop physically, mentally, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually, and at the same time embodying the grit of our athletics,” he explained. “So setting that culture has been the most fun for me.”

The culture that Raducanu has built for the Mountaineers, combined with his coaching style, has earned him a lot of respect from his players.

”He’s definitely a very calm presence on our team,” Mountaineers guard Maddie Anderson said.

“I feel like a lot of the time at basketball games, the games get very chaotic and he’s just always a very calm presence that is able to calm our team down and have us regroup, especially when things aren’t necessarily going our way and I think that’s a really helpful quality to have,” she added.

“He’s definitely very knowledgeable about the game of basketball,” forward Peyton Connolly said. “He knows what he’s talking about and I think that really transpires onto the court and to us as players.”

“He constantly, always has a positive energy and I feel like he’s the type of coach that you constantly just want to work hard for,” guard Tatjana Boskovic said. “The combination of those two things just makes you really enjoy being out there and working hard for the team.”

Raducanu learned a lot from his time as a player and continues to bring some of those lessons to his coaching, with the biggest lesson being to always bring your best self to the game.

“As a player, it is just always bring it. Bring it every single day,” he said.

“That’s what you’re in control of,” he added. “You’re always in control of your emotions, always in control of your reactions and how hard you work and I brought that to my coaching since day one and I love it, I still do.”

So far during Raducanu’s tenure as coach of the Mountaineers, one of his best memories is when Mohawk hosted the National Championship in his first year.

“That was a really cool opportunity to be part of the top eight in the country and I think that that’s helped us shape the team that we have today by seeing what’s out there at the highest level,” he said.

“Being part of that, being part of the national tournaments for sure, is one of my fondest [memories]. But so far the process of this season has proven to take over that whole feeling,” he added.

The Mountaineers wrapped up Raducanu’s second season with a 12-4 record.


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