Years ago

Tom Maher new coach of Bulleen Boomers

Tom Maher has been appointed new coach of the WNBL's Bulleen Boomers.

What's really bizarre about this story is that Cheryl Chambers has hardly been mentioned.

No mention in the article linked above, and no mention in Sportal's story either. I also heard Maher interviewed on SEN this morning and Chambers' name was mentioned once.

Wasn't she named coach of the year? Didn't she get her team into the Grand Final?

And yet she got sacked? Or did she not re-apply?

Topic #19548 | Report this topic

Years ago

Chambers is not mentioned largely due to the way the club has handled the whole situation.

Chambers had a stellar year at Bulleen last season, her best yet. Coach of the Year, first Boomers team ever in the Grand Final and given a fit Shelley Hammonds probably could've gone all the way.

So with such an exemplary season, it came totally as a shock when the Boomers COM board decided to advertise for her position. Technically, the spot is meant to be 'advertised' every year, but this never happened in Cheryls tenure.

Now add Tom Maher into the equation; a stalwart of womens basketball with an amazing basketball resume. He's been floating around Bulleen for almost a year now as the "Head Director of Basketball" and coaches their U12/1 boys side.

Becoming the Boomers Head Coach was high on his priority list right from when he first came to the club, and rumor has it he had already turned down a chance to become the LIGHTENING's head coach (with the added incentive of an incredibly nice pay-check from Vince) before he even moved to Melbourne.

So with all of this in mind, the club had a difficult choice to make. Chambers, who had done nothing more then an outstanding job the previous season and has proven her ability to secure marquee players with Bulleen's meagre budget, or Maher; one of the top womens coaches in the world who has the potential for some major star-pulling power and a man who has proven his coaching strategy countless times on the international stage.
They chose Maher.

So clearly, the reason why there has been no mention of Chambers 'sacking', is that the club had no clean and neat justification for her removal, and they at least have the decency to now draw any attention to it! I wholeheartedly believe that the team was and is Cheryls, she's been with them right from the start and moulded them into the most mature, self-sacrificing unit in the competition. She's more then earned the right to take them one more year and get the elusive Championship, and I will be VERY interested to see how many of those girls stick around when the only reason many did in the first place was for Cheryl.

My rant for the day. Boo Bulleen management!

Reply #231465 | Report this post

Years ago

Sorry, forgot to add although it was implied: Yes, Cheryl did apply for the position and very much wanted it.

Reply #231466 | Report this post

Years ago

Thanks for clearing that up.

Obviously if we had a media which actually cared about basketball they would have gone after Bulleen and questioned their decision to sack the coach of the year.

Instead, it will appear to casual onlookers like a clean transition.

Reply #231468 | Report this post

Years ago

You can't blame the mainstream media. How many people attend a round of WNBL games each week...a few thou? (if you're lucky). The media is governed by public interest, and that's obviously next to nil. Maybe the local Bulleen rag covered the coaching issue.

If it wasn't for a few passionate individuals in the ABC (especially in SA), there'd be no routine media coverage of the WNBL at all...and they have no choice but to do other things when the major sporting codes demand their attention.

Reply #231476 | Report this post

Years ago

just goes to prove "loyalty does not pay"

can imagine how Cheryl must be feeling.

Reply #231477 | Report this post

Years ago

Caught this in the Herald Sun today and couldn't believe my eyes. I too thought the non-mention of Chambers was baffling (thanks to 'Boomers' for clearing it up).

As a boomers fan who grew up in Bulleen its taken me a while to warm to Chambers - but last season she had the 100% backing of all supporters. For the 1st time in the clubs history it seemed everyone associated with the club thought they had a great shot at taking the title.

I partially understand the decison to go with Maher. The Bullen core was yet to completely form with Hammonds sitting out for the latter part of the season, and with Hibbert now retired the team has lost one of its leaders.

Chambers is a great coach, but can she develop players? We know Maher can. We know Maher's profile is likely to attract a bigger talent base than what Chambers could ever have hoped to (that includes Bulleens junior program which despite its success hasn't produced the high-calibre players it should have).

Finally - the biggest positive I see with Tom Maher taking the reins is likely to be Penaluna's development into one of the leagues top 5 players. She has a natural talent for the game, and with Tom Mahers expertise is likely to field offers from overseas clubs at the end of next season.

Reply #231492 | Report this post

Pulteney 18  
Years ago

People issues will always exist but at the end of the day the club had to choose the best coach available and that was Tom Maher. Especially with his "development" edge over others as George correctly stated.

Reply #231516 | Report this post

Years ago

Your reasoning is spot on George, I do agree with you that Maher will bring to the table many skills that Cheryl never really could, specifically in reguard to training up and holding onto quality up and coming players.

I also agree when you said that Maher will be able to attract perhaps a higher calibre of player, BUT I honestly dont believe that he will be able to put together a team as well as Cheryl might've in the same situation. The reason is simple: money.

Bulleen has never been a club who has been able to throw money at players. Their entire organisation is run by 5 or 6 dedicated volunteers who do their duties alongside working full time with kids. The only funding that is allocated towards the WNBL program is the funding that these individuals can scrape together through sponsorship and door takings. So in light of this fact, I find it astonishing how year in, year out Chambers has been able to attract a high calibre of talent (Grima, Randall etc) AND still retain her core group of Milner, Glaubitz, Jordan, Carr and others together. The only way that Cheryl could juggle the contracts of her core group and the Opals stars is if she can get away with paying the core group LESS. It is a sign of the dedication that these girls have, to each other and to Chambers, that the senior members of the team stick around each season even when they could be making double or triple the money somewhere else. (eg. Adelaide or Canberra)

Basically, much of Bulleens success has come from Cheryls ability to attract and keep these players reguardless of her teams financial situation. They stay for her. So, when their team was on the cusp of winning their first ever championship, and seeing all of their hard work finally pay off, the COM decides to screw up their groove!

Believe me when I say, they were already thinking ahead to next season and what they needed to do to win it all. They'd all pretty much decided (with exception to the retired Hibbert) that they'd go one more season, for Hammonds and because they enjoyed the season so much.

So anyway, im very interested to see how Maher can handle this situation. I wouldn't be suprised if there were some players who are having second thoughts about this season due to Cheryls unceremonious sacking.

Reply #231525 | Report this post

Hoops 70  
Years ago

Tom Maher nearly killed the Canberra Capitals when he was coach here. A lot of the good players left to get away from his bully boy behaviour

Reply #231555 | Report this post

Years ago

Also found the press release a little confusing for its complete lack of mentions of the outgoing coach. Boomers, thanks for explaining the situation.

Reply #231665 | Report this post

Years ago

Boomers - let be honest here - if you were anyone of the Bulleen players would you leave the club just because Chambers was let go (as we speak Chambers won't be coaching anywhere next season)??? If anyone of those players moved to another WNBL team it would only be a detriment to their careers.

Basketball is a business - it's not personal, so any Bulleen player who thinks moving away from Bulleen is the 'honourable' thing to do is an idiot.

I'll put it on the line and say Maher will have that team in the best physical condition as is humanly possible. He has HUGE shoes to fill and a slow start to the season will have Bulleen fans asking questions.

Reply #231912 | Report this post

Years ago

Chambers. Brilliant coach in regards to how to guard teams/players and how to exploit other teams/players. Beyond that....
1. No players were ever lured to Bulleen from outside VIC being their home and wanting to come back.
2. Terrible development abilities. No bench players ever became any more than that until going to other clubs as she does not develop, simply brings in a top of of players to carry the team again if they leave. Even when 30pts up the bench dont even get a run!
3. Slackest training schedule in the league and least opportunities provided to pick up extra sessions even if the players wanted in
Lovely lady, nice for her to go out on a high (gf and all) but think bringing in Tom will take the club to the next level.

Reply #232410 | Report this post

Years ago

Next - fitness! Bulleen weren't too bad to be honest. Having said that I think there were a few players who could have shed a couple of kilos - would have taken them to the next level. Having said that I guess for those fringe players, playing in the WNBL comes second to holding down a fulltime job & family commitments (not enough $$$ for them to be full time basketball players).

Maher will bring a stringent training regime - we all know that. Its amazing how some teams actually carry players who are 75% fit throughout the season. You take a player like McInerny - offensively very limited, but arguably a player you could build a team around at the defensive end given her strength & speed. I remember watching Alison Cook back in the 90s running the full length of the court (many times a game) and scoring the easiest of baskets b/c she was the fastest player on court.

Reply #234607 | Report this post

Years ago

Chambers was quite brilliant last season in terms of what she was able to achieve considering the injury of Hammonds and to get within 3 points of the title. From an outsiders perspective she seemed to get along great with the players.

Now Maher's got a great record and all but I can see something like this could possibly upset the team unity immensely and set everyone backwards.

I agree with Boomers that she deserved the right to at least coach the team next season to see if they can go one better. Hopefully she can find a coaching position in the WNBL or somewhere of her choosing that gives her the respect that she has earned.

Reply #239710 | Report this post

Years ago

Cheryl had her chance. More than once. Tom is the best Coach available. The CLUB has a RESPONSIBILITY to the players and sponsors to obtain the best Coach possible. the job should be advertised every year. They should have done that every season and then it wouldn't be such a shock now. Tough, get on with it. If Chambers is that good a coach she will get a job somewhere else.

Reply #242252 | Report this post

old and gray  
Years ago

"2. Terrible development abilities. No bench players ever became any more than that until going to other clubs as she does not develop, simply brings in a top of of players to carry the team again if they leave. Even when 30pts up the bench don't even get a run!"

is this Bullen or Canberra you are talking about here ?

Reply #242453 | Report this post

Years ago

I reckon Cheryl did a great job but my daughter trained at bulleen just before the boomers and we often stayed to watch training. Those girls seemed to be only part time b/ballers and not really pros and the training reflected that. Tom Maher may be a hard taskmaster but i reckon that is whats needed here

Reply #255356 | Report this post

Elly Kirlis  
Years ago

Hi Tom
You are a good coach of the Bulleen Boomers team.
I hope you and the bulleen team do well.
From Elly Kirlis

Reply #258756 | Report this post

Elly Kirlis  
Years ago

Hi Tom
You are a good coach of the Bulleen Boomers team.
I hope you and the bulleen team do well.
From Elly Kirlis

Reply #258757 | Report this post

Elly Kirlis  
Years ago

Hi Tom
You are a very good coach of the Bulleen Boomers
I hope you do well with the girls.
From Elly

Reply #258758 | Report this post


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