Plenty of coaches ready to take over Jets

PETER LAMPP
Last updated 12:00 20/02/2013
Nick Horvath
WARWICK SMITH/ Fairfax NZ
KEY FIGURE: Nick Horvath will play a major role for the Jets this year as coach Ryan Weisenbery moves on.

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Manawatu Jets captain Nick Horvath says the departure of coach Ryan Weisenberg is no reason to panic.

Horvath said there was a big catchment of potential coaches to draw from and pointed out that Weisenberg wouldn't have been in Palmerston North at this time of year anyway.

The American coach resigned yesterday after three years because his wife is expecting a baby and the birth will be during the Jets' national league season.

"It took us all by surprise, but it's not the end of the world," Horvath said.

"We're heading in the right direction."

Weisenberg would have continued coaching at Pepperdine University in Los Angeles until close to the season start and much of the Jets' roster has already been filled.

Horvath could almost see the writing on the wall when Weisenberg secured the division 1 assistant coach's job at Pepperdine.

As an American, Horvath knows the sort of money college coaches receive in the United States.

"It's big business over there; there's big money in division-1 women's basketball. It's great for him but tough on us."

Horvath had been conversing with Weisenberg for weeks in the expectation he would be coming back. But finally, it seemed, with Weisenberg and wife Lyndsey also in fulltime employment, it all became too much for the family.

"It would have been nicer to know earlier," Horvath said.

"Obviously there's a lot of coaches out there and we should be able to get someone."

Acting Jets general manager Janet Thompson said they had already received two expressions of interest from coaches.

"Word got out pretty quickly," she said.

Weisenberg was to keen to ensure his legacy continued and senior players had contacted coaches they had previously played under.

Horvath said Weisenberg was very good at generating interest in the Jets and his work in the community will also be missed.

"Now we do have a good team and it will be easier for a coach to step in. It is important for it to happen reasonably soon."

Few of the players are in Palmerston North, most spread about the globe.

American Chris Hagan has joined the Montreal Jazz from the Halifax Rainmen in the Canadian national league and Jeremiah Trueman is with the Perth Wildcats.

There is another import spot to fill.

American-born New Zealand forward Marcel Jones has signed for the Jets and will return after playing for Pitesti in the Romanian Liga Nationala. Zane Meehl is playing in the United States and brother Zeke in Australia.

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The only players in Palmerston North are Horvath, Matt Te Huna and Kaine Hokianga.

The Jets board is made up of chairman Nolan King, Thompson, Palmerston North Basketball Association president Grant Funnell and Darryl Purdy.

They are also seeking a paid general manager to take over from King, who had been doing the job voluntarily.

- Manawatu Standard

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