BEN Harvey’s coaching stint of nine years with the Bendigo Braves’ men’s team has come to an end and he will now help lead the search for his replacement.
An emotional Harvey announced on Thursday that last Saturday’s exit from the SEABL play-offs also brought the curtain down on his Braves’ coaching career that began in 2010 when he took over from Wayne Larkins.
However, given his role as the recently-appointed Bendigo Stadium general manager of sport, Harvey will be involved in the club’s hunt for its new coach.
“Being the general manager of sport I’m very proud to be part of the executive team and I feel that being in this position I can help take the club forward in leaps and bounds,” Harvey said.
“With the new arena and all the events we’ve got coming through, it’s a really exciting time for the Bendigo Stadium and I’ll be one of those key stakeholders who will be helping to drive the Bendigo Braves club where we want to go to.
“I’m very passionate about the club… it’s a difficult time stepping down, but I’m very excited to see who the next person coming in is and I’ll definitely be supporting that person 100 per cent.”
Throughout Harvey’s nine seasons as Braves coach he built a 161-85 record from 246 games – a winning strike rate of 65.4 per cent.
It’s a difficult time stepping down, but I’m very excited to see who the next person coming in is
He won conference championships in his first two seasons at the helm in 2010 and 2011, but his coaching highlight came when the Braves captured the SEABL championship in 2016.
“We won 16 games straight during that season and it was just an awesome year that we won’t forget.” Harvey said.
“We were a little bit short this year and I think it’s the right time to go out.”
Harvey has been involved with the Braves as a player and coach since 2001, with his combined tally 411 games for the club.
As well has his 246 games as coach, Harvey – a tenacious point guard – also played 165 for the Braves between 2001 and 2007.
Along with coaching the 2016 SEABL championship, Harvey also played in the Braves’ 2005 title-winning side, with his buzzer-beating three-pointer in the semi-final against Sandringham to reach the championship game having gone down in club folklore.
Harvey was at his most emotional during his announcement when thanking his family for their support.
“Kirstie my wife has been absolutely fantastic and with my daughters Mia and Lily… I came here in October of 2000 and it has been a wonderful journey,” Harvey said.
“I was fortunate enough to meet Kirstie, who was working in the finance department at the Bendigo Stadium, and we’ve now got two beautiful kids and they have been a fantastic support.”
Braves captain Chris Hogan, also a long-time team-mate of Harvey, says one of the great traits of Harvey’s coaching tenure has been his competitive nature.
“It doesn’t matter whether it’s getting the last word in, a free-throw shooting competition or whatever… he’s competing all the time and that’s something I’ve taken a lot out of,” Hogan said.
“He has been such a big part of not only Bendigo basketball, but my career as well and I’d like to say thankyou to him and his family because they have all contributed to what the Bendigo Braves are and what they will be.”
Bendigo Stadium chief executive officer Nathan O’Neill said Harvey’s playing and coaching career with the Braves would leave a lasting legacy at the club.
“He is part of the furniture out here, but it’s important to note we haven’t lost him to our program. He will still oversee our sporting pathways and we’ve already seen the power of his work as general manager of sport in terms of attracting sporting events,” O’Neill said.
• Harvey’s Bendigo Braves’ coaching tenure:
2010: 20-10 (conference champions)
2011: 23-7 (conference champions)
2016: 24-3 (SEABL champions)
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