Giants cast net wide for coach
Story by: PETE McNAE - Nelson Mail - Photo by: Evan Barnes
For the first time in more than two decades, one of the plum jobs in the national basketball league is open to applications.
The Fico Finance Nelson Giants have decided to seek expressions of interest in their head coaching position, with current coach Chris Tupu off contract in December.
Tupu has been with the Giants for the past five seasons after being tabbed for the role by his predecessor, Nenad Vucinic. Before that, Vucinic was either the sole coach or co-coach with the likes of the late Trevor Wright, Brent Wright and Bill Dahlberg since 1994.
Matt Ruscoe was the Giants' first head coach, filling the post from 1990, when the Nelson national league team became the Giants, until 1993.
Giants director Steve Fitchett said it was an opportune time to "test the waters" with Tupu's current contract coming to an end.
The Giants had a difficult 2012 season, losing 10 of their 16 games and failing to make the playoffs. A review of all aspects of the team's operations resulted in the decision to advertise the head coaching job.
"We're aware that the media has said Chris is among the applicants for the Southland [Sharks] job," Fitchett said.
"I haven't heard that for myself but we have decided to follow the same process and seek expressions of interest to see who might be available."
It was reported that Southland's board received 40 applications, although Fitchett believed a number of those came from overseas-based coaches looking for bigger budget operations than New Zealand NBL franchises can offer.
The Giants post will be advertised on the Basketball New Zealand website and also on its Australian league equivalent.
"We're just interested to see who might be out there. There's always talk at this time of the year around changes and vacancies - we're not sure who might come out of the woodwork."
Applications will close by the end of the month, with Fitchett saying the Giants "hope to move pretty promptly" after that.
While the Giants job has been a part-time position, there is a possibility it could be blended with other roles to create a year-round post, if that helped attract the right candidate.
"The door is open to anyone," Fitchett said. "We are not making any assumptions about who might contact us or who could be interested.
"Southland's organisation indicated they had a pretty good field and they are well on the way through interviewing the people they wanted to talk to, so we will get this ad into the market and see what comes of it."