AFTER three seasons at the helm of the Bendigo Spirit, Tracy York has stepped away as coach to spend more time with family.
York, who led the Spirit to a 7-9 record and a fifth-place finish in 2021-22, made the tough call and asked to be released from her contract following a tough past two seasons away from home due to COVID.
The club is fully understanding and supportive of her decision.
In a statement released late on Tuesday, York explained the reasoning behind her departure.
"After much thought and two impacted COVID seasons with extended time away from my family, I have made the decision to ask for a release from my contract with the Bendigo Spirit," she said.
"I would like to thank management, sponsors, fans and media for their support of myself and the team.
"Thanks to the girls and coaching staff on a very strong finish to the 2021-22 season, only just missing finals in a shortened season and with our highest placed finish since 2015.
"Having new recruit Anneli Maley winning the team and WNBL league MVP was great for the club and showed what relentless energy and effort can achieve."
The Spirit finished the regular season as one of the WNBL's most in-form teams with an impressive six wins from their last eight games.
The departing coach is confident of a bright future ahead for the Spirit.
"I'll miss the potential that this group can achieve," York said.
York, a former Adelaide 36ers assistant, who previously coached the WNBL's Adelaide Lightning, replaced former Spirit coach Simon Pritchard ahead of the 2019-20 season.
She led the Spirit through a tough pandemic-impacted 2020-21 season, including eight weeks spent in a hub in Queensland.
Understandably, COVID impacts, including border closures to her home in South Australia and long periods away from family, played a part in the difficult decision to request an early release from her contract.
Bendigo Stadium CEO Dennis Bice praised York for her service and dedication during her time at the helm.
"Tracy has supported the club through a difficult couple of years and finishes with an excellent half of the season to be proud of," he said.
"Bendigo Spirit thanks Tracy for her dedication over the last three years and wishes her the best in her future sporting endeavours."
York will continue to coach the Australian Sapphires under-17 women's team as they prepare for the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers in Jordan in June, and hopefully a World Cup campaign in Hungary in July.
She was only the third coach in the Spirit's 15 seasons in the WNBL.
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