Monday, 4 June 2012
Once the NBL's most stable and successful club, the Melbourne Tigers have turned to former great Chris Anstey to transform them from basket cases to basketball powerhouses.
Anstey, 37, has been appointed the Tigers' fourth coach in 16 months on Monday after the club terminated Trevor Gleeson's contract.
Anstey, who rejoined the club as director of basketball earlier this year, will have another former Tigers star Darryl McDonald as his assistant.
His appointment follows a messy contract stand-off with Gleeson which was resolved with an undisclosed financial settlement on Friday.
Gleeson was stood down by the club's new ownership in mid-May, though they had been angling to do away with the final two years of his three-year deal since March.
Majority owners Larry Kestelman and Michael Slepoy launched a club investigation into alleged contract breaches by Gleeson.
But they have admitted they found nothing untoward, and said Gleeson's "record and reputation as a coach (were) unblemished".
Instead, Kestelman said Anstey was the right man to lead the club, and Gleeson wasn't.
"He has a style that we felt is not one we would be comfortable with long-term," Kestelman said of Gleeson.
"For us, this is all about building a club that will be a winning club. His vision did not match ours.
"He has a style which has worked very well for him but it's different to ours. No reflection on Trevor but we feel much more comfortable with the team we have before you."
Gleeson's agent Barry Gibson confirmed his client had reached "an amicable separation" from the Tigers and would take a step back short-term to spend time with his ill wife and family.
"This hasn't been the best experience for him ... but basketball is not the be-all and end-all, and right now his family takes priority," Gibson told AAP.
Anstey, who retired from playing in 2010 after winning two NBL titles with the Tigers and stints in the NBA, Europe and at two Olympics for the Boomers, has had little coaching experience.
But he says he will lean heavily on what he learned under former NBL supercoach Brian Goorjian to shape his coaching career, and the job of resurrecting the Tigers.
The Tigers have missed the NBL playoffs for the past three seasons after once being the competition measuring stick.
"The No.1 thing he taught me is the most important thing is the people you surround yourself with," Anstey said.
"From support staff to players and out into the front office, we want to ensure we re-engage the basketball community of Victoria."
McDonald's appointment alongside Rohan Short as an assistant comes 12 months after he was interim head coach of the Tigers.
McDonald had replaced long-time boss Al Westover, who was sacked in February last year.
Anstey has several months to finalise his playing roster, with the new NBL season tipping off on October 5.