NEW ownership, new coach and now a new general manager - the winds of change have continued to sweep through the Bendigo Spirit.
The Spirit have announced the appointment of David Ingham as their new general manager of operations as they continue their build towards the 2022-23 WNBL season.
Ingham's appointment follows the recent signing of Kennedy Kereama as the new head coach, while Sports Entertainment Network (SEN) acquired the club's WNBL licence from Bendigo Stadium Limited in April.
Ingham brings a wealth of basketball coaching and administrative experience with him to the Spirit, while he was a Brisbane Bullets NBL championship player in 1987.
Ingham's basketball resume also includes: head coach of the Brisbane Bullets for three seasons during the '90s, assistant coach with the Perth Wildcats, coach of Cairns and Gold Coast state league teams, coaching stints in Qatar and China, seven years as Basketball South Australia's high performance manager, plus team manager of the Victorian under-20 team that won a gold medal with Josh Giddey, now playing in the NBA with Oklahoma City, as part of the squad.
He has spent the past three-and-half years as the director of basketball operations at Knox.
Ingham's role at the Bendigo Spirit will be his first time working within the WNBL.
"With SEN coming in as ownership, it's not so much starting from ground zero, but if feels like it's starting afresh with the Bendigo Spirit," Ingham said.
It's not so much starting from ground zero, but if feels like it's starting afresh with the Bendigo Spirit- David Ingham
"I've had a relationship with the new head coach Kennedy Kereama (current Knox women's coach)... between my relationship with Kennedy and SEN coming on board I feel there's a lot of upside and we can do some great things.
"The Spirit is a club that has got a very proud past, but hasn't had success in the past few years.
"Someone of Kennedy's coaching credentials, both internationally and locally, and the team we're putting together, I feel we can have some good on-court success and then the ball is in my court to make sure we have off-court success as well."
The Spirit joined the WNBL in the 2007-08 season and won back-to-back championships in 2013 and 2014 and were runners-up in 2015 - all under inaugural coach Bernie Harrower.
However, the Spirit have since missed the WNBL finals in seven-consecutive seasons.
High on the list of priorities for Ingham in his new role will be lifting the Spirit's community engagement.
"Number one is about making sure we connect with the community... making sure that our team is seen as a community team and people feel like the team is part of their community," Ingham said.
"We don't want there to be any divide there and we'll have a lot of different strategies to ensure that.
"We also want to have really good crowd interaction and make sure the crowd is actively involved in game day and we get people to our games by playing an attractive and successful style of basketball.
"We really want it to be an experience people want to come to and they feel a strong connection to the team; while winning is certainly one way to get people involved, the connection is the most important thing."
On-court the Spirit have announced a major acquisition for the upcoming season with the return of club great Kelsey Griffin after playing the past four seasons with Canberra.
The Spirit will boast two WNBL MVPs on their roster next season with Griffin (2019) and Anneli Maley (2022), who signed a two-year contract with the club last season.
The 2022-23 WNBL season will tip-off in early November.
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