South East Melbourne name Kelly new NBL coach

March 30, 2023 04:19 PM AEDT | By AAPNEWS
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Former NBL coach of the year Mike Kelly has been unveiled as South East Melbourne Phoenix's new coach.

Kelly joins the Phoenix from the Perth Wildcats, where he had served as associate head coach for two seasons. He also led the Boomers to a championship victory at the Asia Cup last year.

Before that, the American-born 55-year-old coached the Cairns Taipans for three seasons, named coach of the year for guiding them to the semi-finals in the 2019/20 season.

As a player, Kelly was named grand final MVP when the South East Melbourne Magic won the NBL title under Brian Goorjian in 1996.

Kelly replaces the Phoenix's foundation coach Simon Mitchell, who stepped down in February after four seasons at the helm.

"My family and I are excited to come back to South East Melbourne, where so many memories were built, on and off the court," Kelly said.

"I appreciate the people that have helped me get here, and the South East Melbourne Phoenix for entrusting me with helping this team compete for championships."

He joins a Phoenix outfit looking to build on an early exit from the post-season in Mitchell's injury-plagued final year in charge.

The NBL's free agency opened on Thursday and the Phoenix have already secured import Alan Williams and marquee player Mitch Creek for another campaign, as well as Reuben Te Rangi and Owen Foxwell.

Phoenix CEO Tommy Greer said he was looking forward to working with Kelly as the side filled its roster.

"Mike's coaching resume is outstanding and he is a great leader who we strongly believe will help our club achieve great success," he said.

"Following the interview and presentation process, we aligned the candidates with our values and priorities as a club, and it became very clear Mike was the right person to take us to the next level and evolve our organisation." 


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