In a June 17 press release, Simon Fraser wrote that Tissira would be taking over as head coach of both teams effective June 19, 2021. Tissira will make the move to Vancouver, British Columbia, relinquishing his role as head coach of the University of Regina swim team.
Tissira had a successful run as head coach of the University of Regina swim team, leading the women’s team to a sixth-place at the 2017 USports Championships and the men a 9th place finish overall. During his time as head coach, the school also saw 34 of 38 school records fall.
In addition to his role at the University Tissira also served as head coach and general manager of the Regina Optimist Dolphins Swim Club, sending numerous swimmers to Canadian Junior and Senior National Championships.
Before coaching in Regina, Tissira worked in Quebec and was the director of Élite de Longueuil and also served as head coach of Quebec’s provincial age group team.
Tissira spoke about what he hopes to bring to Simon Fraser:
“My philosophy is to help train and guide athletes and staff to reach their full potential during their sports career in and out of the pool, in an inclusive environment, without any judgment or criticisms,” said Tissira. “I want our student-athletes to do their best every day and every practice to support our values, to support our teammates and to support our team.”
Tissura will take over for Liam Donnelly who served as head coach of the Simon Fraser University swim team for the majority of 1992 – 2021.
In 1997, Donnelly was terminated from his position as head coach, however, as student Rachel Marsden, accused him of sexual harassment, according to a report from the Waterloo Region Record at the time. According to a report from the Vancouver Sun, Donnelly and thirty members of the swim team called his termination a “tremendous loss to Canadian swimming and to university athletics.” At the time, they said that they “believe the accusations raised against Donnelly are uncharacteristic and without foundation.” Following the backlash and an appeal of the case by Donnelly, he was reinstated to his role as head coach within the year.
In April 2021, BurnabyNow reported that Donnelly has retired from his post after a “mysterious absence from the program that the university will not discuss.” According to the report, it was Donnelly’s 3rd absence of the like in 4 years.