The new coach of the Launceston Tornadoes ticked all the right boxes on his first assignment with the club.
Already looking comfortable in Torns merchandise, Richard Dickel described the appointment as an “incredible honour”, praised the club’s community foundations and talked up the potential of its playing squad.
“I’m looking forward to coming to Tasmania, being part of a small community that is very passionate about basketball and supportive of the Tornadoes,” he said.
And the calming voice hired to settle a team that has had three coaches in almost as many weeks will have a Kiwi accent with Dickel the son of New Zealand’s 2000 Olympic coach Carl.
The 42-year-old said he had admired both the Torns and the SEABL competition from afar, was well aware of Tasmania’s ability to produce players like Adam Gibson and even suggested the state’s weather would be an improvement on what he has been used to.
Hailing from Dunedin with coaching credentials that have taken him as far afield as Norway, Dickel’s basketball career has spanned the globe.
He played and coached a number of New Zealand Basketball League teams and was assistant coach for the New Zealand men’s NBL team.
Basketball is in my blood and hopefully I can bring some of that here and we achieve things
He has been director of basketball at Scots College in Adelaide, coached the WNBL’s Adelaide Lightning in 2013-14, was assistant coach of the Adelaide 36ers in the NBL from 2013-15 and assistant coach of the South Australian girls team at this year’s under-18 national championships.
“Nothing’s as cold as Norway!” he said of his time coaching in Trondheim in 2015.
“Looking for jobs it’s very hard to find an organisation that is well set up and the team’s pretty good right off the bat.
“I was lucky enough to set up an NBL franchise in New Zealand. It was a small community like this and it’s one of the best NBL franchises in New Zealand now so I love the small town feel and am looking forward to it.”
Dickel has been appointed for the remainder of the SEABL season but said he hoped to stay beyond that.
“Definitely. I’m pretty happy having had the European experience to be settled back in Australia for a while.
“I was lucky enough to have good mentors through the 36ers and my father coached an Olympic Games so basketball is in my blood and hopefully I can bring some of that here and we achieve things.”
He pledged to bring “experience, a cool head and discipline” to the Torns, relished the prospect of kicking off against ladder-leader Dandenong at Elphin on Saturday and complimented a playing group including Lauren Mansfield who he coached at Adelaide Lightning.
“We’ve got some really good players that know how to play the game and it’s about bringing the younger local players through and instilling confidence in them.
“I will let them have free license on some things. They are the ones that have got to put the ball in the basket so we want them to be confident when they do.
“I’m not going to sit here and promise anyone wins, against anybody, but what I am going to say is we’re going to play hard and put an effort out on the court that the community and organisation can be proud of and hopefully that goes a long way to us getting wins.”
Dickel takes over from Ben Rush who coached four games after taking over from Reece Potter.