Brendan Joyce appointed Jayco Australian Opals Head Coach

Brendan Joyce appointed Jayco Australian Opals Head Coach

Basketball Australia is proud to announce Brendan Joyce as Head Coach of the Jayco Australian Opals – the first full-time Opals Head Coach in over a decade.

As part of the new role, Joyce will also become Head of the Women's Program at the Basketball Australia National Centre of Excellence at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra.

One of Australia’s most highly respected basketball coaches, Joyce served as an assistant coach for the Australian Boomers between 2001 and 2009, including two Olympic Games and the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Joyce also brings high-level domestic experience to the Opals program as a two-time NBL Coach of the Year, having driven the Wollongong Hawks to their first and only NBL Championship and amassing more than 400 games as an NBL coach.

Looking forward to the challenge ahead, Joyce said the he would continue to set high standards for the women’s national team as they aim for a sixth consecutive Olympic medal at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

“I’m proud and honoured to be appointed Head Coach of the Opals program,” Joyce said.

“Many of our Opals are among the best athletes in the world, and the success achieved by Opals’ coaches and players past and present has put them firmly on the international stage.

“The Opals have medalled at the last five Olympic Games – making them one of Australia’s most consistent women’s national teams – and that’s an achievement not to be underestimated.

“We’ve talked a big game about success at the Olympics, and now it’s time to back that up. In my opinion, it’s not about what we say; it’s about what we do.

“My vision for the Opals is to be a united team with a strong and positive culture, to be disciplined.

“Our preparation has to be near perfect – we have to be the fittest and best conditioned team in the world – and we have to play with intelligence.

“Every championship-winning team boasts those traits, and if we put them in place with the Opals, I know we can aim high in Rio.”

2006 World Championship-winning Opals Coach and member of the coaching selection panel Jan Stirling said Joyce’s appointment would put the Opals on solid ground for the Rio Olympic Games.

“Brendan has an inherent passion to teach and lead athletes on a pathway that instils accountability to elite preparation in every aspect,” Stirling said.

“Not only will he challenge the players to strive for optimum performance, he will command a sense of urgency and diligence to remain relentless in the pursuit of winning a gold medal.

“Brendan’s point of difference as a coach is his ability to critique the skill and abilities of players, enhance their capacity to understand what’s required to win games in high pressure environments, and at the same time elevate their individual and team confidence.

“With Brendan leading both the Opals and the national women’s program at the Centre of Excellence in a full-time capacity, it is an exciting time for Australian women’s basketball.”

Four-time Olympic medallist and Opals’ all-time great Kristi Harrower said she was confident Joyce would lead the Opals with a strong sense of purpose and team chemistry.

“Brendan is very clearly the type of coach who cares about the culture of the teams he leads,” Harrower said.

“If the team is serious about success in Rio, we need a coach who can lead a culture of what it is to be an Opal, how we treat each other on and off the court – how we win together.”

After a decorated playing career of 289 NBL games, Joyce made the jump into coaching; guiding the Ballarat Miners to back-to-back CBA (now SEABL) titles before becoming coach of the Wollongong Hawks in 1995.

He spent more than a decade at the Hawks, winning their first NBL Championship and twice being named NBL Coach of the Year (1999 and 2001).

Joyce would go on to guide the Gold Coast Blaze to their first NBL post-season before being named the inaugural president of the NBL Coaches Association in 2012.

Basketball Australia Chief Executive Officer Kristina Keneally said Joyce was the right coach to lead the Opals on the road to the 2014 FIBA World Championships and the Rio Olympics.

“Brendan has been coaching at the national and international level for the best part of 20 years; going forward, that depth of experience will be crucial to what is already one of the strongest programs in Australian sport,” Ms Keneally said.

“We look forward to Brendan continuing to build on the foundations set by Tom Maher, Jan Stirling and Carrie Graf in establishing the Opals as Australia’s premier women’s sporting team.”

The Opals Head Coach selection panel – chaired by Basketball Australia's General Manager of High Performance, Steven Icke – included five-time Olympian and BA Board Member Andrew Gaze, three-time NBA Champion and Boomers great Luc Longley, legendary WNBL and 2006 FIBA World Championship-winning Opals coach Jan Stirling, WNBL great and three-time Olympic medallist Rachael Sporn and AIS Sports Performance Manager David Crocker.

Joyce has been contracted through to the completion of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, with a full performance review to take place at the completion of the 2014 FIBA World Championships.

Brendan Joyce – Background Information

• Australian Boomers Assistant Coach (2001-2009)
    o 2004 Athens Olympic Games
    o 2008 Beijing Olympic Games
    o 2006 FIBA World Championships
    o 2006 Commonwealth Games
• Gold Coast Blaze (NBL) Head Coach (2007-2009)
    o First NBL Finals Appearance 2008
• Wollongong Hawks (NBL) Head Coach (1995-2006)
    o First NBL Championship 2001
o NBL Coach of the Year 1999, 2001
    o Seven NBL Finals Appearances
• Ballarat Miners (SEABL) Head Coach (1994-1995)
    o SEABL Championship 1994, 1995
    o SEABL Coach of the Year 1994, 1995
• Played 289 NBL games with Nunawading Spectres and Brisbane Bullets between 1979-1991
• Member of the Australian Boomers squad 1982, 1988