Benalla Breakers women’s coach Tony Long lives and breathes basketball.
So, there is little surprise that Long, who holds dual roles at Benalla as its coaching director and women’s CBL coach, has added another role to his already long-established coaching resume.
Earlier this month, Long was appointed head coach of the North East Bushrangers Division 2 Women’s team for its 2021 season.
Long takes over the reins from departing head coach Jacqui Henry, who stepped away from the program during the off-season.
An assistant coach to Henry prior to taking on the top job, Long said he hoped to continue Henry’s work in building up the program.
“We may restructure how the team is seen, but I’ll be carrying some of the traits Jacqui developed as coach, and then find my own niche going forward,” Long said.
A key part of Long’s plans is recruiting a senior leadership group to carry the program forward.
“I’m just the conduit for the players. If they want to want to play and be a part of this group, I’m just here to assist and complement them,” Long said.
“These are adults, so the structure isn’t so much on development as it is on the people and what they want to achieve.”
Another crucial part to the program’s growth will be tapping into the wealth of talent in the north east.
“We have a lot of young players who come through, become great players and are going out the top end,” he said.
“Our focus is to tie it all together, from our junior clubs up and forge that pathway.”
North East Bushrangers men’s program will also have a new face at the helm next season, with Wodonga’s David de Koeyer announced as the team's new head coach.
He also steps up from an assistant coach's role, replacing former head coach Emma Henry.
Long said de Koeyer was a standout individual who would bring a lot of experience to the role.
“He’s a great player in his own right, and has been a long-term fixture in the program,” Long said.
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