Having to break through barriers himself has made Lancer men’s basketball coach Chris Cheng determined to serve as an example for other aspiring Asian coaches.
“I think that it's not very common to see, you know, a 5-foot-7 Asian head coach on the sidelines at the post-secondary level,” he said. “I’m Filipino, so there are Filipino leagues, and you see Filipino coaches and Filipino people playing the sport and sharing their passion. But I think outside of that, it’s not very common to see.”
Now in his third year as Lancer head coach, Cheng is the subject of a profile for Basketball Canada written by Holly MacKenzie in recognition of Asian Heritage Month.
She notes that Cheng’s very presence on the sideline is helping to shift the idea of what a head coach looks like.
“I didn’t allow other people to tell me that I couldn’t do it,” Cheng said. “Parents are saying to me: ‘Wow, that's amazing that you’re a Filipino head coach, this is cool.’
“I really don't think about it so much, but I know I have to be more aware of it. I think it just opens up doors. I want to open up doors for people of the Asian community to say, look, you know, you could do anything. It’s not just sport. Get into uncommon places and make it common.”
This is the fifth in a series of articles featuring voices from members of the UWindsor community in celebration of Asian Heritage Month. The 2022 theme “Continuing a legacy of greatness” is a reminder for all Canadians to come together to combat anti-Asian racism and discrimination in all its forms.