Bullets bank on new coach - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bullets bank on new coach

By Wayne Heming 18/11/2002 05:31:45 PM Comments (1)

Coach Richard Orlick may have been a victim of loyalty to Brisbane Bullets players after being dumped eight games into the National Basketball League season.

Former Geelong guard American Joey Wright will replace Orlick as head coach for the rest of the season.

And highly-rated American big man Kevin Freeman is due to arrive on Tuesday as the club's replacement import for the injured Bobby Brannen.

Orlick's sacking would not help Townsville's Ian Stacker sleep well with the Crocs also performing poorly at 2-8.

Orlick's decision to stick with American Brannen through his calf injury dramas and to show faith in players to handle roles beyond their capabilities went against him with Brisbane slumping to its worst start to a NBL season.

He had too many players on his roster who performed similar roles, and left himself short of suitable back-ups in case of injuries to players such as Brannen or young centre Wade Helliwell.

There's little doubt his side would have had two or three wins on the board had Brannen, the club's leading rebounder and key interior defender, been on the floor.

Brisbane general manager Jeff Van Groningen denied Orlick's sacking, the fourth coach to go in 10 seasons, had been premeditated with the decision only made after the club's eighth straight loss at the weekend.

Van Groningen, who pulled the Wright deal together in less than 24 hours, has known the American since attending his basketball camps in Texas in 1989.

He was at Geelong when Wright, currently coaching at St Edwards University in Texas, played for the Supercats in 1995-96 alongside current Brisbane captain Simon Kerle.

"We had a limited time frame to work with," said Van Groningen, adding Orlick's demise was unfortunate but necessary.

"We wanted someone fresh and not a recycled name.

"We had number of things we needed and we needed them quickly.

"Given that Joey was in a position to leave the college program he is in because wasn't the head coach, he was the perfect fit.

"He understands players, he has played at the highest level and even when he played he was a coach-on-the-floor type player."

Former Bullets favourite Leroy Loggins was not considered for the job.

Orlick was given the shock news after training the players on Sunday afternoon and the players were told of his sacking that evening.

Orlick, who lifted Brisbane from four wins two seasons ago to 14 wins last season, was negotiating a termination package and unavailable for comment.

Kerle, whose father Brian Kerle was sacked by the Bullets twice, was not surprised by Orlick's axing.

"In professional sport if you are 0-4 or 0-5 a coach you'd have to be thinking `Hell, if I don't get a win soon, I could be in a bit of trouble," said Kerle.

"With every loss after that any coach would have to be thinking `My time is coming'.

"Every coach would understand that.

"What do they (club) do, keep going down this track till it's 0-14 with sponsors barely holding on.

"How far do they go?"

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1 Comments about this article

  • Richard Is a Fantastic Coach, I should know because He has been coaching me for 4 years now and has shown me everything that i know...when i started basketball i never knew that he was the Brisbane Bullets Coach but now after reading this artical... i am still confussed of why her was shacked and if anyone is wondering what he is up to today... He was a fab coach and coaching teams that are winning there grandfinals (HE LEAD MY TEAM TO WIN OUR GRAND FINAL) Your the best Richard! D.Boucher ROX!!
    Posted by Sam Cowan Tue Jan 23, 2007 04:49pm AEST

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