NEWLY inducted Australian Basketball Hall of Fame member Brian Goorjian paid tribute to Ballarat for helping to forge his coaching career.
Goorjian, now based in China, joined the illustrious list of players, coaches and officials as the most successful coach in National Basketball League history.
Leading Ballarat Miners in the South East Australian Basketball League was Goorjian’s first head coaching role.
Goorjian said the timing was right; his playing days were over and coaching career starting when Australian basketball was starting to boom.
“I was an assistant coach at Geelong and that wasn’t for me,” he said. “I had a vision when I was an assistant coach on how I wanted to practice.
“I had a vision on the selection of people and what I thought was a good player.
“I formed those opinions when I was an assistant ... I would rather be a head coach in the SEABL than an assistant in the NBL,” Goorjian told nbl.com.au.
“I just wanted to forge my own way. So I went from there to Ballarat. We formed a great team ... that gave me the chance to coach in the NBL.”
Goorjian coached 735 NBL games, from 1988 to 2009, for 514 wins.
He captured six NBL championships – three with Sydney Kings – and was NBL coach of the year six times.
Goorjian took charge of the Australian Boomers from 2002 to 2008, taking the nation’s marquee men’s team to two Olympic Games and the 2006 Commonwealth Games gold medal.
NBL championship players James Crawford and Mark Bradtke and game administrators Tom York and Neil Hamilton-Smith were inducted alongside Goorjian this year.
Ballarat players Ray Borner and Robyn Maher (nee Gull) are also members of the Australian Basketball Hall of Fame.