Basketball Ballarat chief executive officer PETER EDDY has been part of the MINERS, LADY MINERS and now RUSH programs since Ballarat first entered the Victorian Basketball Association state league - the Miners in 1982 and Lady Miners in 1983.
In 1986, the Miners joined the South East Australian Basketball League.
The Lady Miners played in the Country Victorian Basketball League before joining the Miners in the SEABL in 2003.
In his last year before retiring, he has named the people (coaches, players and team staff) he believes have been the most influential with the Miners and Lady Miners/Rush over that period.
This is not an all-star or best player list. It is a personal reflection and recognition of those people who have passed through the programs and have left a lasting impression and legacy on the elite program
We feature his MINERS list in part two in a two-part feature.
Possibly the Miners' greatest player to date. Even people who did not follow basketball closely knew who Eric Cooks was. Many people in the Miners' formative years just went to games to see Eric in action. The man who wore the number 14 singlet with distinction played an integral role in 1989, 1994 and 1995 title victories. He was a quiet and unassuming champion of our club.
Brian was the inaugural coach of the Miners. The Miners reached the semi-finals of the SEABL in 1987. His success in Ballarat was acknowledged by an approach from Nunawading Spectres of the National Basketball League. From there, Brian's coaching career went from strength to even greater strength and he was ultimately appointed as head coach of the Australian Boomers. Goorjian took a team of raw and inexperienced local junior players, added two imports and introduced Ballarat to elite level basketball. His charisma, passion and ability to meld this first-time team into a final four contender in our first year was astounding. Off court, his ability to promote the Miners brand endeared him to all in the Ballarat community, from key corporate partners to our youngest fans. In the space of three months he had put basketball in Ballarat on the map.
Eric joined the Miners in 1991 and has had a continuous involvement as a player, coach, assistant coach and mentor ever since, remaining heavily involved with Ballarat Basketball. Apart from his remarkable playing career, Eric has coached the Miners, Rush, youth league and junior teams. Like Rush import Joy Burke, he has been one of our greatest community ambassadors, often accepting community engagements well over what it was reasonable to expect of him. His loyalty and service deserve the highest respect.
For many, many years Les was the team video operator at home and away games and often helped as team bus driver. He also provided medical support to the team. His reserved nature and willingness to do anything necessary for the sake of the program saw him earn the endless gratitude of many players and coaches over the years.
A very talented footballer and basketball player, Glenn committed to basketball as a junior and went on to captain the all-conquering 1989 Miners team. Glenn and basketball were made for each other. As a player, everything he did was team-oriented and he helped make the transition of the program from raw local talent to one for elite athletes much easier as the years progressed. He was co-coach of the Miners program in 1996 when they won the Victorian championship. He has always been popular with players coming through the program and maintains a passionate interest in the Miners and Lady Miners.
Eric was a player and coach in the formative years of the Miners and provided mature leadership as the club prepared for the SEABL era. He went on to be a key part of the Miners coaching panel under successive coaches before following Miners coach Brendan Joyce to the NBL in 1996. His influence at club and junior level also delivered several high-quality local players into the Miners program over the years.
Paul was a player, assistant coach and coach of the Miners program and was involved for more than a decade in supporting our program in one way or another. He was an astute tactical coach, a strong supporter of developing local talent and was always willing to support other coaches in the program.
Paul also played in our initial Miners team and became the first player out of this program to go on and play under Brain Goorjian in the NBL in 1988. He returned to the Miners in the 1990s and continued to have a strong influence across the program for many years. Largely self-taught from watching the NBA on Channel 7 as a junior, his commitment to perfecting his skills became a benchmark for many that followed him.
As team manager, sports trainer and general team organiser, Greg served countless athletes in the 1990s and was highly respected for his commitment and willingness to do the extra tasks to provide the best possible environment for the team.
While the Miners and Rush owe much of their success and reputation to those profiled in this two-part feature, there are many others who deserve to be mentioned for their contribution over time.
Robyn Maher (nee Gull), Ray Borner and Alison Tranquilli were largely ahead of the Miners/Lady Miners' time and had to leave Ballarat to pursue their sporting dreams before we could provide a career pathway for them.
Program presidents Dennis Foley, Luke Dunne and Nick Grylewicz are largely the reason the program has continued over the past 34 years. Their drive, passion and commitment has allowed the two teams to retain a competitive presence over the years.
Private support and encouragement from Bernie Stone and Matt Nunn in a variety of ways has been instrumental in helping to support and maintain the programs year in, year out.
The Couier's sports journalist Jim Murphy lived up to the saying "The pen is mightier than the sword" in the 1980s and 1990s. His pen yielded invaluable publicity to the Miners in the formative years. Following the Miners' upset victory over the Melbourne Tigers on August 16, 1989, his banner headline"'Miners slay NBL's best" said it all. Jim set the foundation for the promotion that Ballarat Basketball still receives today.
As with all great community clubs we could not exist without a solid core of dedicated volunteers who have contributed to the club over many years. These people are the foundation of our program and allow the coaches and athletes to have the opportunity and privilege to play this great sport and represent Ballarat and the association.