Time right for Molloy to move on

Guy Molloy gives instructions to young Tall Ferns centre Ritorya Tamilo at the Asia Cup in Sydney...
Guy Molloy gives instructions to young Tall Ferns centre Ritorya Tamilo at the Asia Cup in Sydney last year. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Tall Ferns coach Guy Molloy is stepping down from the national role.

After six years, two Olympic cycles and over 40 games at the helm, Molloy yesterday announced his time was up.

"I think you always know in your heart when it’s the right time ... and as difficult and emotional decision as it’s been for me to make, I feel that the timing is right," Molloy said.

"You’re only ever the steward of the Tall Ferns. It’s been a long time for me in this role and I’m nothing but proud of my time in this programme and what we’ve achieved.

"I hope that I’ve left it in a better place, and that I’m able to pass the torch on and let the next person do the job their own way."

The decision comes less than a year after Molloy guided the New Zealand women to fourth, their best finish, at the Asia Cup, a run that included a memorable win over world No 11 South Korea.

Molloy joined the Tall Ferns programme in 2017 as an assistant coach under Kennedy Kereama, before taking over the head coaching reigns in 2018.

Inheriting a team ranked 42nd in the world, Molloy’s first challenge was to lead the Tall Ferns at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. New Zealand finished that tournament with a 5-1 record, earning bronze while also introducing a future star in 16-year-old Charlisse Leger-Walker.

Later that year, he steered the Tall Ferns to their first William Jones Cup title, beating heavyweights Japan 85-74 in the final.

The Tall Ferns have registered a 20-19 record in competitive games under Molloy, and are now ranked 26th in the world.

"I’m proud of the fact that our world ranking has jumped by almost 20 places since I took over the team," Molloy said.

"We’ve got a host of great young athletes emerging up the ranks — from Charlisse and Tera [Reed] to the newest generation of incredibly exciting young talent like Pahlyss Hokianga, Ritorya Tamilo and Lauren Whittaker.

"To have the opportunity to not only work with the best female athletes in the country, but also to have bought so many future Tall Ferns into the programme, is something I’ll cherish.

"It’s been a great ride over the past six years and the future of the Tall Ferns looks pretty good to me."

Molloy will continue working with the Tall Ferns in a technical director role until the end of the year, as well as continuing with his coaching duties for both the Southland Sharks and the Sydney Flames.

Basketball New Zealand will advertise soon for candidates for the Tall Ferns interim head coach role.