It only takes a quick look over Mark Elers' Bay of Plenty Sports Awards nomination form to realise the sheer volume of service he has given to basketball in Rotorua.

The Rotorua Boys' High School head basketball coach had his efforts recognised when he won the Bay of Plenty Principals' Association Secondary School Service to Sport Award at the Bay of Plenty Sports Awards on November 16.

His coaching CV is an impressive one and dates back to the 90s. In recent years he has been busy dedicating his time to Rotorua Boys' High School basketball teams and has previously held a wide range of coaching and management positions in the region.

He has held too many positions to list all of them in one article, but they include stints as coach of the Rotorua under-23 men and under-15 boys, John Paul College Senior A head coach, Rotorua Basketball Association Maōri Men's head coach and many more.


He has consistently and passionately worked his way up the ranks at Rotorua Boys' High School where the game is now flourishing.

Remarkably, when asked about his efforts, Elers described himself as selfish.

"A couple of years ago I was looking at some old photos from when the kids were little at the beach. I was trying to figure out when this happened, then I realised I was away on a basketball tour. That happened quite a few summers," Elers said.

"I've had a chance to reflect and in a way it shows how selfish I've been. I've put in a heap of time, but my family miss out. The award is dedicated to them.

"First of all, my own mum and dad are the hardest working people I know and have been there all the way. Then my kids, there's been a lot of time I haven't been there and they grew up in a gym, but they brought the best out of me.

Rotorua Boys' High School basketball coach Mark Elers (centre) gives his team some instructions. Photo / Supplied
Rotorua Boys' High School basketball coach Mark Elers (centre) gives his team some instructions. Photo / Supplied

"Out of all of them though, my wife Tracy is definitely the MVP. She does so much to allow me to do what I do with basketball."

Elers played representative basketball for Rotorua for seven years before turning to coaching. He was inspired by those who coached him.

"I actually told Tracy that I would go to coaching because it would be less time, but boy was I wrong. I developed a love and a passion for the game because of my high school coaches, they had an impact on me.


"They gave me a love for the game and I thought transitioning to coaching would be the next step, you can't play forever. Basketball ran in our family, me, my brother and my sister, we all played.

"I suppose that's how it ended up being our family's love and joy too. Both my kids play, my son is in the States. I don't know what I would be like without basketball, it's been part of my life forever."

He enjoyed seeing basketballers grow as people, as well as players.

"In our programme at school now, we hold the culture and what they're going to be like afterwards quite highly. Good quality people is what we're after in our academy programme."

While his coaching CV is vast and varied, Elers is happy with where he has ended up.

"I've been a bit of a basketball nomad, but now I'm back at Rotorua Boys' and it feels like home. I've found my place in the basketball world and as long as they want me I think I'll always be there."

Despite all he has achieved, Elers still has goals to tick off.

"I think my highlight is still to come - one thing missing is I haven't developed a Tall Black. I really want to do that, I want to coach someone and know I've helped them get to the pinnacle of sport in our country.

"We came fourth at nationals in 2015 and we've had a few quiet years since then. But, I believe we will win a national title in the next three years. The school is right behind the sport with the academy, we have a brilliant basketball director in Theo Tait, the numbers are growing. The school has fully invested, the players see that and it makes it easier for me to coach.

"There is stuff happening at our school that I think will pay big dividends in the end."