Wol­lon­gong call sud­den halt to Joyce’s long reign

Townsville Bulletin - - Basketball -

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

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