Basketball: Hawks job just out of this world
Anendra Singh | Tuesday, September 18, 2012 9:04
A staggering 80 applicants have put their hands up for the job of coaching the HBS Bank Hawks next season.
The general manager of Basketball Hawke's Bay, Paul Trass, said last night the new Hawke's Bay Basketball Foundation Incorporated franchise board was overwhelmed with the response but it had whittled down the the applications to three.
"We should know by this time next week who will be successful," Trass said after former Hawks coach Paul Henare suddenly indicated he was migrating south to coach the Southland Sharks in the National Basketball League (NBL) early next year.
The applicants vying for the job, believed to be in the vicinity of $70,000 a year, included hopefuls from first division teams in Australia, the United States and as far as Russia and Spain.
"We had only put it on the Hawks and the Basketball New Zealand websites for a day when we got 50 hits. The quality of some of the people applying was just absolutely amazing."
It is understood one of the three applicants shortlisted for the interview is from New Zealand but Trass declined to elaborate to protect their privacy.
Needless to say, all three of them have agreed to have last season's co-assistant coaches Kirstin Taylor (nee Daly), a former Tall Fern skipper, and former title-winning Hawk Willie Burton, in a supportive role.
Taylor, who is a teacher at Napier Boys' High School, is believed to have put her hand up to do the job if franchise chairman Bernard Walsh and his board cannot find a successor to former ANBL title-winning New Zealand Breakers captain Henare.
Trass quashed rumours that former coach Shawn Dennis will return at the helm of the Hawks whose maiden NBL title win came in 2006 during the Australian's era.
"[Former Hawks franchise owner] Jeremy Bayliss has been in touch with Shawn and he's indicated he's moved on since," Trass said of Dennis who is now the assistant coach of the Perth Wildcats in the ANBL.
A jovial Trass said luring former Hawk American import and Under-23 US coach Jamie Dixon from his US$1.4 million ($1.7m) salary was also unlikely unless they secure some multinational corporation-type sponsors in the next few days.
What Trass could confirm was he would be the new CEO of the Hawks franchise but the board had advertised for an operations manager.
Former general manager of the Hawks Rachael Hinchco confirmed last night she was effectively "made redundant".
Trass said the new franchise was sticking to its plans of having specialist managers rather than an all-embracing one that Hinchco assumed under former owner and father Rod Earnshaw so she won't be part of that process to go forward.
It is believed former Hawks coach and Hastings Boys' High School basketball academy co-ordinator Curtis Wooten is a contender.
None of the Hawks players have indicated they will leave the franchise although it is suspected young talent Morgan Natanahira may move to Invercargill, considering he followed Henare from the Breakers academy to the Bay.
American Kareem Johnson, whose lives with Bay-born wife Lucia and their two daughters, Swiss-born Ruby, 4, and Bay-born 15-month-old Sophia in Napier, is on the verge of acquiring his New Zealand residency.
It is rumoured that two new franchises are likely to throw their hat into the NBL ring in the next two seasons.
While the Christchurch Cougars and Waikato Pistons won't return, a Bay of Plenty franchise is keen with another one from Northland intending to enter the fray in 2014.
Last night Trass said 500 pieces of Hawks memorabilia, including full uniforms, unused tracksuits and shooting shirts dating back to 1994, will be up for grabs in a fortnight at the franchise headquarters in Onekawa.