Bendigo’s two elite women’s basketball teams will have closer ties following the appointment of Spirit assistant Jonathan Goodman as the new Lady Braves head coach.
Goodman was announced as Lukas Carey’s successor yesterday and he will approach Spirit star Kristi Harrower to be his assistant.
But with his appointment coming more than two months after Carey’s resignation, Goodman’s first priority is to sign players for 2013. He has spoken to several Spirit players and could bring disgruntled former players Kelly Wilson and Gabe Richards back into the fold.
“I guess the first thing is to talk to all the players that have played over the last couple of years to see where they’re at, to talk about what their intentions are moving forward,” Goodman said.
Harrower spoke to Goodman about potentially joining him at the Lady Braves before he got the job and the 37-year-old is keen to move into coaching when her illustrious playing career ends.
“I’d be interested, because I suppose when I finish playing I’ve got to think about something else and maybe getting into coaching is something that I would look at,” Harrower said.
Harrower said Goodman’s appointment would help the Lady Braves and the Spirit continue to draw players to Bendigo.
The Spirit signed Renae Camino, Madeleine Garrick and Ebony Antonio after they joined Carey’s 2012 Lady Braves squad.
“By having somebody like Jonathan we really hope that we can have a lot of the Spirit girls there, I think that’s the connection that we really need to have. Trying to recruit for both programs, it helps a lot,” she said.
Goodman wants to build on that relationship, while also creating a clearer pathway from the juniors to the WNBL.
“I think they all stand independently but, at the same time, I think we can do a better job of creating a pathway,” he said.
“I think Bendigo has great potential to make itself a basketball town.”
Bendigo Basketball Association president Mark Lennox said Goodman’s “wealth of coaching experience” got him the Lady Braves and BBA director of coaching roles ahead of club legend Andrea Walsh.
Currently in his second season with the Spirit, Goodman has been head coach of the Melbourne Tigers’ women’s and junior programs, and also held coaching positions with Dandenong in the WNBL, SEABL and juniors.
Fostering young talent from Bendigo to bring through the Lady Braves and Spirit programs will be one of his key goals as director of coaching.
“You have a look at some of the players running around in the under-18s, some of the players we’ve got in the Spirit squad – there’s some good young talent in there,” he said.
Spirit coach Bernie Harrower endorsed Goodman’s appointment.
“I always though whoever was going to be coach needed to be involved with the Spirit one way or the other, it’ll be good to have that continuity in the programs. It’s important for women’s basketball in Bendigo,” he said.