Aussie legend’s shock announcement
Coach Andrew Gaze is to part ways with the Sydney Kings after their long-awaited NBL playoffs campaign.
Gaze and the club insisted it was a mutual decision when making the news of the split public on Tuesday after speculation of it had emerged. However, Gaze said the club had wanted to conduct an evaluation after his three-year contract expired following the season and he did not want to go through that process.
The 54-year-old former Boomer said he loved coaching and wanted to continue doing so in the future but more immediately he just wanted to spend more time with his family.
"With management here, we've been aware of it for quite some time," Gaze told reporters.
"I guess, as the season draws to an end and the club has to go about their business, that we decided a while ago that I won't be continuing as the head coach of the Sydney Kings.
"It's one that I feel really comfortable with, because the care and the way in which they've approached the situation is one that I'm extraordinarily grateful for.
"I'm grateful for the opportunity. I think back to when Harvey Lister first approached me to get involved, along with Jeff van Groningen, and to see where the club was then, to where we are right now; very proud of what we've been able to do."
Gaze has overseen a 42-42 record through his three regular seasons in charge after coming in as a rookie NBL coach and enduring some tough times during the first two seasons.
He will hope to go out on a high, with his Andrew Bogut-inspired team having qualified for the playoffs for the first time in six years, setting up a semi-final series against Melbourne United.
Gaze said it was now "business as usual" and was adamant the decision would not impact on the star-studded team's quest for its first title since 2008.
He said his focus to succeed won't waver and he appreciated the full support of Kings management. Chief executive Paul Kind described Gaze as an "icon" of Australian basketball and thanked him for his intense commitment.
"He has invested passionately in his role as our head coach and we respect his desire to return to Melbourne at the end of our season," Kind said. "We know that Andrew and our team are now focused on our upcoming finals campaign."
An undisputed legend of the sport in Australia, Gaze is yet to prove he's an elite coach after a disappointing first couple of seasons with Sydney. However, a championship in his final year would go a long way towards that perception.