Two-time National Basketball League championship winner Stephen Black is the new coach of the Bendigo Braves men's program.
Black's appointment was announced on Thursday after he won the job ahead of a quality field of applicants that included David Hogan, who coached the club for the previous three seasons.
Hogan led the Braves to the NBL1 South grand final in his first season in charge in 2019 before enduring two COVID-19 restricted seasons.
Black, 41, played 298 NBL games, including two championships in 2004 and 2007.
After his retirement as a player he coached at state league level in Queensland before most recently coaching the Willetton Tigers in the NBL1 West league.
"In terms of programs, Bendigo's reputation is second to none,'' Black said of his attraction to the Braves' coaching role.
"In terms of professionalism and potential for success, it ticks all those boxes as well."
Bendigo Stadium Limited general manager of sport Ben Harvey welcomed Black to the club and thanked David Hogan for his contribution.
"Stephen has a great basketball pedigree and will be a big asset to the Braves and Bendigo," he said.
Black's appointment provides his wife, Deanna, with a Bendigo homecoming.
Deanna Black, nee Smith, was born in Bendigo and played for the Bendigo Spirit and Bendigo Braves during an impressive professional career that included stints in Europe and international duties with the Australian Opals.
Stephen and Deanna have a young son, Hudson.
"Deanna being from the area was a fairly big factor for us,'' Stephen said.
"It's a great opportunity for us."
Black's other link to Bendigo is Braves' star Ray Turner who played under Black at the Willetton Tigers before he was recruited by the Braves.
"I have a very good relationship with Ray,'' Black said.
"We've always maintained some contact and I have a lot of respect for him as a basketballer, but more so as a human being."
Black was an aggressive, team-first point guard as a player and he said Braves' fans can expect a similar style with his coaching.
"I love playing in transition,'' Black said.
"Obviously, I need to make sure I have the right team to play that way.
"I'd like us to get up and down, put pressure up the court and have a free-flowing offence. We'll focus on ball movement, player movement and making quick decisions.
"That's where I'd love us to get to, but I have to make sure that suits the team we have."
Black said he was looking forward to the challenge of coaching in a league that is arguably the second strongest in Australia.
"Depth is the biggest difference (between NBL1 South and NBL1 West),'' Black said.
"The top teams in the west certainly compare, but in the south the teams from sixth through to about 15th are still quality teams.
"They're probably a level up on the same teams in the west."
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