Wildcat Championship Coaches Announced

12/1 Boys –Carly Stones

Carly continues her strong presence in the U12 age group. Having played a hands-on role at domestic level for five years, her first year in 2017 as our 12/1 Boys Coach saw the team finish 2nd at the National Classic, whilst they remain in contention for the Victorian Championship; down to the final four at the time of writing. Throughout the year, like any good coach she has looked to extend her knowledge, most notably as an Assistant Coach to the 14/1 Boys and also to the Youth Women’s team. Her development in past years has included the 2015 U18 Eltham Boys tour to the USA and coaching in a variety of Basketball Victoria camps.

We have no doubt that the U12 Boys team will be well led and educated in basketball development, but also learn strong lessons for their future.

12/1 Girls –TBA

The club has multiple options for this position and the final appointment will be made at the conclusion of the team selections. Selections to be made by a panel of coaches.

14/1 Boys –Craig Stratford

Prior to 2015, Craig Stratford was just a dad who’d played at a high level and was coaching in domestic hoops for the Wildcats and was well appreciated by local mum’s and dad’s. In 2015 he was appointed to the 14/2 Boys and quickly developed a reputation as a strong developer of talent and a high level of management and care of young players. He was promoted in 2016 to the 14/1 team, a team that went onto win the National Classic title. Following up with the 14/1’s in 2017, Craig’s boys finished with a bronze at the National Classic but also qualified for the U14 National Club Championships in October. At the time of writing the 14/1 Boys remain in the final four for the Victorian Championships.

Craig took the additional step in 2016 of being an Assistant Coach to our Senior Men’s team under the leadership of three time U20 national championship winning coach Trevor Lee. Craig plays a large role in the development program opportunities afforded to our junior boys.

14/1 Girls –Greg Jeffers

Greg’s coaching background extends for over 20 years from domestic to Big V State Championship whilst also coaching VC across all age groups in both boys and girls. In recent times, he led our U18 Boys in 2015 to the National Classic title and in 2016 his 12/1 Girls finished 2nd at the same event. For 2017, Greg’s 14/2 girls qualified for VC, whilst also coaching the 16/1 Boys. Other achievements in Head Coach positions in recent times include the 2011 State Championship winning Senior Women’s team and our Victorian Youth Championship (23 & Under)  Men making it to final four appearances in 2015 and 2016, demonstrating that his coaching has crossed all age groups and levels.

Greg’s involvement for Basketball Victoria and its state development programs spread across 11 years including coaching NITP, multiple Southern Cross Challenge teams and Australia’s representative at the FIBA World Youth Camp.

16/1 Boys –Connor Matthews

A product of the coaching development pathway, we couldn’t be more pleased to announce that Connor Matthews will lead the 16/1 boys in 2018. Having coached domestically, Connor first started Championship Coaching taking on the 12/6 Boys at just 17 years of age. Since then he has worked his way through the ranks, achieving an amazing result with the 14/2 Boys in 2016 when he qualified them for VC. In 2017 he has taken the lead of the 18/2 Boys and again graded them highly.

From 2015-2017, Connor was an Assistant Coach to the Wildcats’ Victorian Youth Championship Men’s team, seeing them achieve final four positioning in two of those seasons. Despite being in his early 20’s coaching in a league of those aged U23, his knowledge of X’s & O’s was highly respected amongst the playing and coaching group.

16/1 Girls –D’Wayne Hogan

We were pleased to welcome D’Wayne back into the coaching fold in 2014 where he coached our 16/2 girls for three seasons. In 2017, D’Wayne was appointed to the 14/1 Girls where they’ve had a successful season qualifying for the U14 National Club Championships. In 2016 and 2017, D’Wayne also took on the Assistant Coaching position with the Senior Women’s team where he was able to develop his coaching under Head Coach Katrina Hibbert. In 2017, D’Wayne was appointed an Assistant Coach for the Southern Cross Challenge U15 Girls.

However, D’Wayne’s coaching background goes back further than that. From 1992-2001, he was Head Coach of a variety of boys and girls teams ranging from U14-U18 including multiple VC teams.

With extensive experience in coaching high level teenage athletes, D’Wayne is well placed to provide strong development for our U16 Girls.

18/1 Boys –Grant Wallace

Grant returns in 2018 to the Wildcats coaching ranks. Having coached SEABL teams at Nunawading, Kilsyth and Frankston for 20 years and being named an Assistant Coach for the Australian U17 Men in 2017, Grant is well placed to provide strong development and education to the young men of the 18/1 team. Grant will continue in his role for the Australian Junior Men in preparation for the World Championships.

Along with this, Grant’s coaching appointment for Victoria state teams include winning multiple national championships as Head Coach of the U20 Men.

We consider Grant’s appointment a terrific opportunity for the Wildcat boys to be developed into players prepared to head into the Wildcats senior program and College opportunities

18/1 Girls –Matt Holland

Matt will once again lead our 18/1 Girls team for 2018. In previous seasons, Matt has led our Youth Women’s team for four seasons and also spent two seasons as Head Coach for the Senior Women’s at Eltham.

Having taken on a large workload in 2017 which included the 18/1 and Youth team, Matt has stepped aside from the Youth team commitments, so his focus can be placed firmly on the 18/1 Girls. His knowledge and experience at the senior ranks will assist in his role of developing our young talent to help them reach the level required to step to the next level. In recent years, many of Matt’s young players have progressed to the College system in the USA and with the talent coming through our ranks we would expect this to continue.

20/1 Men –David Gardiner

David coached the U20/2’s last season as a last minute saviour to the team without a coach. His attention to detail and high expectations is excellent and he shows a great passion for helping players achieve all they can. We have no doubt that David will do a fantastic job leading these young men and we are excited to have an U20 coach signed up this early. This will help selections go smoothly and prepare the U20 team earlier than they have been in last seasons.

Other coaches will be announced in the coming weeks.