Following last fortnight’s announcement of Sandy Brondello’s appointment to the head coaching role of the Australian Opals, Paul Goriss and Cheryl Chambers have been named as the Opals’ assistant coaches.
Brondello has wasted no time since her appointment to select the coaching panel which also includes a support staff of Dr Gaylene McKay (Head of Medical Services), Jan Legg (Strength & Conditioning) and Dr Simone Page (Sport Practitioner).
Both Goriss and Chambers coached in the most recent WNBL campaign with Goriss returning the University of Canberra Capitals to a winning record for the first time in five seasons while Chambers led the Sydney Uni Flames to their first Championship since 2000/01.
“This is a new and exciting era for the Australian Opals” said General Manager of High Performance, Jan Stirling.
“Sandy has great respect for the WNBL and Basketball Australia’s high performance pathway and has selected two assistant coaches that will provide a framework to complement her own coaching expertise.”
“Cheryl’s extensive familiarity with our WNBL talent pool and Paul’s in-depth knowledge of our athletes in USA colleges are areas that Sandy considers vitally important to the Opals achieving podium success.”
Goriss comes into the role following ten years as an assistant/senior coach of the AIS Men’s basketball program while his three years prior to taking on the head coaching role with the Capitals were spent leading Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence Women’s program.
He has experience at all junior levels, leading Under-16, Under-18 and Under-20’s teams for Queensland North and ACT at Helloworld Australian Junior Championships as well as coaching the Australian Gems to a bronze medal in 2015 at the FIBA Under-19 Women’s World Championships.
Significantly, he also has great comprehension of the talent of other international teams and where the Opals may face challenges in upcoming tournaments.
Chambers was a stalwart of the Bulleen/Melbourne Boomers organisation for a number of decades as a player, assistant coach and head coach where she led them into the post-season three times.
Her coaching experience extends to Australian representative sides as an assistant coach of the Australian Opals from 2005-07 which included winning the 2006 Commonwealth Games gold medal.
More recently, Chambers enjoyed a three-year stint as head coach of the Under-19 Australian Gems where they won a bronze medal in 2013 before Goriss took over the reins.
She joined the Flames in the WNBL for the 2016/17 season and immediately found success as they won the final twelve games of the season, including a sweep of their Semi-Final and Grand Final series’ to win the Championship with Chambers also named the WNBL Coach of the Year.
The Opals coaching staff will now be aiming to carry that success into the national women’s program as preparations begin for the FIBA Asia Women’s Cup, later this year, and the World Championships in 2018.