Dickel taking his skills to Adelaide

BRENDON EGAN
Last updated 05:00 19/12/2012

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One of the most charismatic characters in Southland sport is leaving the province for Australia.

Southland Basketball Association (SBA) development manager Richard Dickel, who coached the Sharks' national league franchise in their first three seasons in the league, yesterday announced he is shifting across the ditch.

In early February he will take up a two-year contract as coaching director with the Forestville Eagles basketball club in Adelaide.

He will be responsible for coaching all of the club's 70 teams, which range from junior to senior level, and also give support to the head coach and assistant coach of the Eagles' CABL side in the state league.

Dickel said he was looking forward to a fresh challenge and the chance to develop further as a coach. "I've got the ability to grow as a coach and experience a different culture and get out of my comfort zone. It's going to be a totally different kettle of fish to what's gone on here."

Dickel has been employed as development manager for the Southland association since 2006.

He is best known for being the inaugural coach of the Southland Sharks side, which gained entry into the National Basketball League for the first time in 2010.

During his three seasons with the Sharks, Dickel endeared himself to the Southland public with his passion for winning and penchant for wearing orange shoes and ties to match his team's playing colours.

He guided the Sharks to the playoffs in their first two seasons in the league, but after a dismal campaign this season, where they only won five of their 16 games, the Sharks' board opted to advertise the position.

Dickel made the final shortlist, but eventually the job went to former Tall Black point guard Paul Henare. At the end of his tenure, Dickel was critical of the Sharks' board and believed he should have been retained as coach.

Speaking to The Southland Times yesterday, Dickel said he had moved on and was thankful to the opportunities both the SBA and Sharks had provided him.

"I wish (the Sharks) all the best. They've got a very good coach in Paul (Henare) and some very good players coming down.

"You can't be bitter about it for too long, otherwise it will eat you up. It's going to be tough for me to leave. Personally and professionally, it's a move I had to make."

Southland Basketball general manager Jill Bolger said Dickel had made an immense contribution during his seven years in Invercargill. He had been integral in helping increase the profile and popularity of the sport in Southland and worked tirelessly behind the scenes at junior level.

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She said the organisation wished him all the best for the future.

"He has touched so many other people's experience of basketball. We can't count how many kids he has coached, how many hours he has put into age group teams and our top sides. We do know he leaves Southland basketball in a better place than when he arrived."

Bolger said the SBA planned to meet in mid-January to discuss a possible replacement for Dickel and the exact nature of the development position in future. They would need to decide whether to keep the role full-time. One option could be to have a Sharks player contracted in the role.

Dickel believed the sport was in a good state in Southland right now. When he started in the job, Southland's top teams were languishing in division three. Now both the Sharks men's and Pearls women's teams were playing in the country's top national competitions.

He was confident more homegrown products would go on to play for the Sharks in the coming years and make an impact in the national league.

- The Southland Times

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