Hawke's Bay national basketball league hopefuls the Taylor Hawks have appointed a new coaching team after previously appointed coach Adam Forde's decision to go with the Sydney Kings in the Australian NBL.
One of the most promising coaches in Australia, Forde was appointed head coach at the Hawks last July, when he was reported to have already been in contact with players to discuss their goals and aspirations.
In December it was announced he had been made head coach of the Kings, where he had previously been involved as an assistant.
But he will be retained by the Hawks as "Special Consultant" having, according to chairman Keith Price, been instrumental in recruiting Perth Wildcats assistant Jacob Chance as a replacement in Napier.
Forde and Chance had worked together with the Wildcats, who have won the Australian NBL four of the last five years, and Price says that with the pair in place in their Hawks roles it was time to "recruit our local stars" to make up the coaching team.
It resulted in the assistant coach appointment of Kaine Hokianga, who played well over 200 games in an NBL career stretching to 15 seasons, mainly with the Manawatu Jets. A school teacher, he had been an assistant with the Hawks in 2018.
The coaching team is complete with the return of Chris Treacher as strength and conditioning coach and veteran player Everard Bartlett, who will be working with younger talent in preparation for open trials at the start of April.
With the advent of the Covid-19 crisis and its uncertainties, Chance becomes the fourth Hawks coach in four years, from two-season mentor Zico Coronel's departure late in 2019, to that of Irish coach Daniel Nelson for a 2020 season that for the Hawks did not happen, to Forde and now Chance.
Price says that "like most of 2020" it was time for the franchise to launch into action – "and move to plan B."
Forde said: "While I'm disappointed I couldn't continue my commitment to coach the Hawks for this upcoming season, I am happy that I am able to stay on as a Special Consultant. It's been great being part of Hawke's Bay and helping to recruit like-minded individuals, which is why securing Jacob Chance as our head coach is another step in the right direction."
Chance has been part of the Wildcats' four most recent championships, after starting
volunteer intern video coach in 2015, continuing to work as a video co-ordinator and development coach through 2016-2019 to his appointment as an assistant, helping create and develop a Perth Wildcats Academy/Development programme.
He was also the Under 16 Western Australia Metro Head Coach at 2019 Australian Junior Championships and had direct involvement with the Basketball West Australia high-performance programme.
Forde said: Chance brings an analytical approach to the game and has vast knowledge working in a professional environment.
"His background in player development and game coaching makes him the ideal candidate to lead our team into the 2021 season," said Forde.
Chance said he is "extremely excited" to be joining the Hawks' programme following the current ANBL season. He said "amazing work" had already been done behind the scenes.
"I am thrilled with the team we have been able to put together to date," he said. "I am looking forward to getting to work with a group of ambitious and competitive individuals. We will be striving every day to be the best versions of ourselves and I look forward to helping put on an exciting style of basketball that our fans will continue supporting."
The nine-team ANBL, including the New Zealand Breakers, started last month and is scheduled to end in early April. The New Zealand league is due to start on April 24, although the Hawks aren't expected to tip-off until May 2.