Wollongong call sudden halt to Joyce’s long reign
BRENDAN Joyce’s apparent reluctance to curb ‘ unsatisfactory behaviour and offensive language’ has forced a bizarre ending to his long reign as coach of NBL club Wollongong.
Joyce said he was ‘extremely disappointed’ at the decision and was exploring his legal options after the Hawks ended the longest current tenure of any NBL head coach yesterday.
He was midway through his 12th season with the Hawks, during which time he became an assistant coach on the Australian national team and led Wollongong to eight finals appearances in 11 full sea- sons in charge and the 2001 championship.
Wollongong have been inconsistent this season but are well in playoffs contention, sitting in eighth spot with an 8-10 record.
But, in a long-winded statement, the Hawks announced Joyce’s immediate termination yesterday.
Joyce will hold a press conference today but was clearly bitterly disappointed at the decision.
‘‘I can’t make any comments as far as legalities go with legal action at this point, I’ll be discussing that with my solicitor tonight and tomorrow morning and I’ll be holding a press con- ference tomorrow,’’ Joyce said yesterday.
‘‘But obviously I’m just extremely disappointed to be treated this way after 12 years, that’s all I’ve got to say.’’
The problems began for Joyce on December 11 when the club contacted his management company, B&J Management, requesting it address ‘the unsatisfactory conduct of Brendan Joyce in the position of head coach’.
The conduct had resulted in the club receiving complaints from fans and sponsors which ‘threatened continuing sponsorship income’, the statement said.
The club said earlier promises Joyce made to remedy the conduct issues were not honoured.
The Hawks then gave Joyce 14 days to satisfy the board the behaviour would be rectified, but ‘no satisfactory indications were given’.
The board met on Wednesday following the expiration of the 14-day period and still had not received the assurances, deciding to terminate the agreement between the two parties.
Wollongong acting chairman Bob Elvy insisted no other factors were involved in the decision.
‘‘Nobody should be in any doubt that this problem has occurred solely as a conse- quence of the issues referred to in the notice,’’ he said. ‘‘There are no other issues involved in the board’s decision. There is no ‘hidden agenda’ as has been speculated in the media and elsewhere. The board has sought to achieve nothing other than to be able to guarantee to sponsors and fans that the club could provide and would maintain family-oriented entertainment. Offensive language and behaviour cannot be condoned or ignored in the maintenance of such an environment.’’
The club will immediately begin searching for a replacement.
GONE . . . Brendan Joyce