Whittlesea Pacers’ have secured WNBL championship winner Hayley Munro as a playing-coach for next season.
The Pacers, which had no teams in finals this year, wasted no time in appointing coaches for next year’s Big V season. Pacers’ coaching director Shannon Bodley said Munro’s signing was a coup for the division 1 women’s side.
Munro, who played four seasons in the WNBL, was part of Bendigo Spirit’s championship side in 2012-13.
“Getting Hayley in is huge,” Bodley said.
“It’s come at the right time. She’ll be a playing-coach which will help the team on and off the court.
“Her experience and leadership will help this group … hopefully we can keep the core group together and with Hayley’s connections hopefully can bring in a few other players.”
The division 1 side finished ninth this year, with eight wins. It suffered a lack of players late in the season. Bodley, who coached the division 1 side to a championship in 2015, said it was Munro’s first time coaching and he would work closely with her to help where needed.
Bodley has also returned to coaching and will coach the Pacers’ youth league 2 women’s side.
“Hayley will sit on my bench at times and I’ll sit on her bench at other times, especially early in the season” he said.
“There’s no doubt she’ll teach me some things as well.
“The youth league side has been in division 2 for far too many years and my aim is to get them out of there as soon as possible.
“Hopefully with me on board we might get some outside kids come and join the side.”
On the men’s side, Brian Vaughns has been re-appointed coach. Vaughns was originally meant to coach the youth league side this year, but stepped up when John Hauer was unable to coach because of health reasons.
Bodley said it was an easy decision to reappoint Vaughns. “They got relegated [after finishing bottom], but they were a very young group,” he said.
“It was the plan all the way through to play the youth. I watched a few games late in the season and I could see they were getting what Brian was teaching them.
“It looks like most of those players are coming back next season and they can continue to build.”
Alex Thorn rounds out the coaches and will look after the youth league men’s side, which also looks set to be relegated.
Thorn returns to the club after coaching the women’s youth league sides two seasons ago.
“We gave Alex feedback on the areas he needed to improve on to be a better style of coach.
“He went to Bendigo and did what we asked. He’s got a real good basketball brain and IQ.
“He’s a great club person to have on board.”
Meanwhile Damon Lowery has been reappointed coaching co-ordinator.