Former Tall Blacks seek Sharks coaching job
The Southland Sharks' search for a head coach has attracted a star-studded list of applicants.
Hawke's Bay Hawks coach and former Tall Blacks point guard Paul Henare yesterday confirmed he had applied for the position.
The Southland Times understands Tall Black legend and Wellington Saints coach Pero Cameron has also thrown his hat in the ring, as has Nelson Giants coach Chris Tupu.
There was strong interest in the position, with more than 40 candidates applying. Sharks general manager Jill Bolger said they had whittled the list to "under 10" and would begin interviews in the next couple of days.
Bolger did not want to discuss candidates, with the majority asking for their applications to be kept confidential.
She was also reluctant to list who was on the interview panel.
A high standard of coaches had applied for the role, including several from overseas, she said.
"We were a bit overwhelmed with the level of interest and we got a lot of overseas applicants with a great deal of experience putting their hand up for a shot at the role," Bolger said.
The Sharks decided to advertise the position, held by foundation coach Richard Dickel, after a disappointing 2012 season, where they missed the playoffs for the first time in their three-year existence.
Dickel, who holds a 20 win-32 loss record (38 per cent) in his three years with the team, hasn't said officially what he plans to do, but he is believed to have re-applied for the job.
Henare and Cameron, who are both assistant coaches with the Tall Blacks, loom as serious contenders for the job, as does Tupu, who had a previous stint as assistant coach of the men's national team.
Henare is off contract with the Hawks and said he was uncertain where his future sat with the Napier-based side.
He said the Sharks were a franchise on the rise and conceded the job held appeal.
"I need a job and am looking at what openings are around," Henare said.
"There's a lot of water to go under the bridge.
"One of the reasons I applied, is it seems like things are run professionally down there.
"It's a good organisation and there's good support."
Henare has steered the Hawks to back-to-back playoff appearances since taking up elite coaching last year.
Tupu has been at the helm of the Giants since 2008, leading them to the playoffs in every season, except this year.
The former Tall Black, who is off contract with the Giants in December, declined to comment when contacted by The Southland Times yesterday.
Cameron is on the hunt for a job after the Gold Coast Blaze, where he was assistant coach, were forced to withdraw from the Australian National Basketball League (ANBL), due to financial issues.
The larger-than-life Cameron coached the Wellington Saints to back-to-back New Zealand NBL titles in 2010 and 2011. They again made the final this season, but were beaten by Auckland.
Cameron failed to return calls yesterday, but is believed to have applied for the position.
Bolger said the Sharks hoped to make an announcement on the new coach by mid-August.
They would need to discuss with the potential coach whether the role would be part-time or full-time.
- © Fairfax NZ News