Australian Maher Named Coach Of British Women


Great Britain have appointed Australian Tom Maher as coach of their women's team.

Maher, who coached the Opals at Olympics and FIBA World Championships for Women and also guided New Zealand and most recently China, is currently leading the Bulleen Boomers in Australia's WNBL.

"Taking the GB job was a no-brainer," he said.

"Who wouldn't want the opportunity to coach a home nation at the Olympics, in a city I've spent almost no time in; it was an easy decision.

"Certainly the British team will be better. GB has made a lot of effort to improve, that much is clear and now I'm going to try as hard as I can. When it comes down to it you can only do your best and be proud of that."

Britain had hoped to qualify for next month's EuroBasket Women in Latvia but only went 1-7 and then finished 3-3 in the Relegation Round to drop into Division B.

"GB has got to take gigantic steps," Maher said. "There's a difference between basketball and world basketball and that's key. It's little things like emotional advances which they have to make, but this is all part of the learning curve.

"The important thing to remember is that you don't make something happen overnight. I'm not expecting it to be all wonderful to begin with."

Maher led Australia to a bronze medal at the Atlanta Games in 1996 and to silver four years later in Sydney.

At the 2004 Athens Games, Maher led huge underdogs New Zealand into the Quarter-Finals and last summer he guided the Chinese to a fourth-place finish in Beijing.

"It goes without saying that to have someone of Tom's caliber commit to us should act as both a vote of confidence to the team but also demonstrate our program's intent," British Basketball performance director Chris Spice said.

"Not only does Tom have firsthand experience of helping teams grow and progress, but he has done so with two home nations at an Olympics which we hope will be priceless for us, not just with the women but across the programs."

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