Bendigo Lady Braves coach Jonathan Goodman's future in doubt as role is advertised

A LITTLE more than a month after leading his side to a SEABL conference grand final win, the Bendigo Lady Braves coaching career of Jonathan Goodman could potentially be over.

Bendigo Stadium Limited, which administers the Braves men’s and women’s teams, as well as the city’s WNBL team, is advertising for a head coach.

The position has been held for the past five seasons by Goodman, whose contract to coach the team expired at the end of September.

In that time, the former Australian Gems under-19 assistant coach has led the Lady Braves to two SEABL national finals in 2013 and ’17 and four conference finals.

The head coach advertisement.

The head coach advertisement.

The only season in which the Lady Braves did not reach the conference final under Goodman was in 2016, when the side was besieged by injuries, but still reached the semi-finals.

Goodman, who is also Bendigo Basketball Association’s director of coaching (that contract expires in December), said after entering discussions on a contract extension last month, he was surprised to be told the position was being advertised.

“I thought based on my previous history and experience and coming off a conference championship win, I would be staying,” he said.

But Bendigo Stadium Limited on Wednesday insisted the door had not been shut on Goodman returning for a sixth season.

New general manager – sport Ben Joske said the 36-year-old had been “invited”  to reapply for the role he has held since late 2012.

He said with the coaching contract expiring, the board believed it was the opportune time to test the market and see what might be available.

“I suppose the reason we have contracts is for this particular reason, so we can make sure we have the right person in the role,” he said.

“We’ll do that and sit down and have a chat with a few interested parties and then make the call on that moving forward.

“We had initial discussions (about the coaching role), but the board has decided the best way forward was to go to market.”

Joske believed the circumstances surrounding the coaching vacancy would not make things awkward for Goodman in either applying or accepting the job.

“(Not) if he can instil confidence in the board and the organisation that he is the right man for the job,” Joske said.

“Obviously he has had some fantastic results in previous years.

“We will be continually looking  for improvement and if Jono puts his best foot forward and proves he is the right man for the job, we’ll back him in 100 per cent.”

Goodman was undecided over whether he would apply for the coaching role, when asked by the Bendigo Advertiser on Wednesday.

The director of coaching position is also to be advertised in coming weeks.

The Lady Braves this season came perilously close to achieving their goal of a first national championship since 2007, when beaten 67-76 by Geelong Supercats.

They led at half time by 14 points and by one point at three quarter time.

The grand final followed the team’s 91-80 south conference championship win a week earlier against Launceston Tornadoes.

Players contacted by the Bendigo Advertiser told of their surprise at the coaching development, but were otherwise in the dark.

It is understood there is considerable support for Goodman’s retention among sections of the playing group.