Two-time U14 boys’ national championship winning coach Craig Stratford has been elevated to lead the Wildcats’ Victorian Youth Championship Men’s team for the next two years.
Stratford isn’t new to senior basketball; having played for his hometown Mt Gambier Pioneers in the SEABL, but Craig has also been an Assistant Coach to the State Championship Men coached by Trevor Lee for the last two years. He has coached for four years within the Wildcat junior program at U14 level, but in 2019 he will combine his role as Head Coach of the 18/1 Boys along with his Youth Men’s commitments.
Eltham Basketball CEO Greg Jeffers has been keen to build from within; “We’ve taken great pride in ‘walking the walk’ when it comes to promoting juniors to the Youth Championship competition. Over the last 6 years, 90% of the playing group have been graduates of the Wildcats junior program and we are starting to see them progress into the Senior team. Craig has learnt his coaching craft within our program, has developed a culture for success and this bodes well for a consistently successful Youth Men’s team.”
2018 has been bigger than normal for Stratford, as he led the Asia-Pacific Boys (the 2017 U14 national championship team from Eltham) in the inaugural Jr NBA World Championships in Orlando, where the team finished 6th. In addition to this, he coached his team to the 2018 U14 Boys National Classic title before going on to win Basketball Australia’s U14 Boys National Club Championship; taking Eltham to back to back titles.
“I’m very thankful for the opportunities that I’ve been afforded at Eltham and I am appreciative of Trevor [Lee] for letting me assist him the last couple of years, which has developed me as a coach. Given the connection to the club, I know the Eltham boys well and had the opportunity to speak with Greg numerous times about how they were going last season. I am looking forward to working and helping these young athletes achieve their goals in the future” said the newly appointed coach, Craig Stratford.
Youth Men trials will commence next week, register now by clicking here.