The Launceston Tornadoes have chosen not to re-appoint Richard Dickel as coach for 2018 and have instead called on the services of WNBA assistant coach Derrick Washington.
Washington is the SEABL club’s fourth coach in 12 months and the Torns have undertaken a lengthy recruitment process in the hunt for a full-time coach.
Dickel’s contract expired at the end of last season after the club lost the Southern conference final.
The New Zealander’s appointment came after Ben Rush’s contract was terminated just four matches into a two-year term.
Rush replaced popular figure Reece Potter last January.
Chairwoman Janie Finlay said on Wednesday that she was pleased with Washington’s appointment.
“When we started looking for our coach for next season we were determined to find the right person to lead our team and our club into the future,” she said.
“The club has been building for the past few seasons both on and off the court and the head coach has the responsibility of maintaining that momentum.
“We have spoken to a number of high calibre candidates about this role, from both international and across Australia, and finding someone who can fulfil all aspects of the coaching and community work has taken some time.
“But with Derrick we are excited to appoint such a high quality person and coach to lead our club on the court.”
Washington is the WNBA’s club Dallas Wings development and clinic coach in the US, where he is responsible for developing scouting reports on opposition players, conducting skills and development drills with senior coaching staff.
He is also a coach at NBA club Dallas Mavericks’ academy.
“I can’t wait to arrive in Tasmania early in the new year and start working with the players,” he said.
“I have had a number of opportunities to work with leading organisations in the NBA and WNBA, and coach College teams but this will be my first opportunity to lead a professional team.
“I am very excited about joining the basketball program that Launceston has developed.
“I am also passionate about being involved with the community and junior players, which I can see the Launceston Tornadoes value highly as well.
“I am confident that my personal and professional skills will add to the already strong program that exists in Launceston,” Washington said.
Washington will arrive in Launceston early next year to take Tasmanian-based players through a pre-season camp.
The club will now focus on finalising player contracts.