Coach excited about new role

New Otago Gold Rush coach Gavin Briggs is looking forward to bringing his skills home to New...
New Otago Gold Rush coach Gavin Briggs is looking forward to bringing his skills home to New Zealand. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
Gavin Briggs spent last year operating on the world stage.

This year the new Otago Gold Rush head coach is excited to bring that experience home.

Briggs will guide the side in this year’s women’s national basketball league, taking over from Greg Brockbank, who will remain involved with the side.

It follows his time as head coach of the Junior Tall Blacks, where he guided the side on its under-19 World Cup campaign.

That had been a "fantastic" time and he hoped to bring what he learnt to his new role.

"The professionalism, how they go about things, the detail and the planning that’s required to put those sort of campaigns in place," he said.

"I think everything that I’ve learnt from my time as head coach of the Junior Tall Blacks, that’s valuable coming back to the Gold Rush."

The Junior Tall Blacks was just the most recent of a long list of coaching ventures.

He began in the game as a player and won back-to-back national titles with an Otago under-20 side which included the likes of Glen Denham and Todd Marshall.

However, after he joined the police, it became hard to commit to training around shift work.

When the chance to help coach at Otago Boys’ High School came up, he was a little reluctant. But he went along, and never left.

A string of representative teams followed, while he also coaches at Otago Girls’ High School, and was Otago Nuggets assistant coach for nine years.

Two national titles came in 2013 and 2014 with the Otago under-17 boys and Otago Boys’ High School respectively.

Around it all he balanced his job with the police, and admitted the majority of his annual leave gets taken for basketball trips.

The World Cup had been a highlight, as were the national titles. However, equally it had been memorable seeing his daughter Libby start playing in the under-13s.

Everything had its own place in significance, whether it be the top level or at the grassroots.

That came through in his approach to growing as a coach.

He was also a believer in sharing his knowledge.

"You can learn off everybody.

"I’ll go and watch other coaches here, whether they’re just new or starting out and see how they’re doing things.

"But why keep it to yourself? Why not pass on those experience and skills you’ve picked up?

"They don’t keep it to themselves, they’ve got 10 players that they can pass it on to.

"Then you’re doing a service to all our athletes here — the more athletes we can get up to the next level and the next level.

"I’d love to see three Otago people or four Otago people at a World Cup."

For now his focus was on the challenge ahead. He was not sure exactly what the Gold Rush team would look like.

Preparations and player meetings had begun, while he hoped to get preseason under way soon.

The season begins on April 30 with a three-day opening weekend tournament to be hosted at the Edgar Centre.

That will feature all six first division teams, as well as the 10 development league teams — one of which will be from Otago.

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