Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Bellamy’s Launceston Tornadoes are excited to announce the appointment of WNBA Assistant Coach Derrick Washington as the clubs Head Coach for 2018.

In what has been an extensive process for the Tornadoes Chair Janie Finlay is both relieved and excited about the announcement.

“When we started looking for our coach for next season we were determined to find the right person to lead our team and our club into the future.

“The club has been building for the past few seasons both on and off the court and the Head Coach has the responsibility of maintaining that momentum.

“We have spoken to a number of high calibre candidates about this role, from both international and across Australia, and finding someone who can fulfill all aspects of the coaching and community work has taken some time.

“But with Derrick we are excited to appoint such a high quality person and coach to lead our club on the court,” Finlay said.

Washington is currently the Development and Clinic Coach for the WNBA team in the US, the Dallas Wings where he is responsible for developing scouting reports on opposition players, conducting skills and development drills with senior coaching staff.

He also is a Basketball Coach for the NBA Dallas Mavericks Basketball Academy responsible for recruiting, managing and supervising basketball camps for junior basketballers of the Mavericks development program.

Between 2011 – 2015 Washington was Assistant Coach with the WNBA club Minnesota Lynx where he was development coach for Lynx player and current WNBL star with the Sydney Flames, Asia Taylor.

“I can’t wait to arrive in Tasmania early in the new year and start working with the players. I have had a number of opportunities to work with leading organisations in the NBA and WNBA, and coach College teams but this will be my first opportunity to lead a professional team.

“I am very excited about joining the basketball program that Launceston has developed. I am also passionate about being involved with the community and junior players, which I can see the Launceston Tornadoes value highly as well.

“I am confident that my personal and professional skills will add to the already strong program that exists in Launceston,” Washington said.

Washington will arrive in Launceston early in 2018 to take the local players through a preseason and prepare for the season which commences in early April.

Now that the Head Coach has been appointed the Club will finalise player contracts with announcements to follow very soon.

“We have been in discussions with a number of players since the end of our 2017 season. Now that this key piece of Head Coach has been locked away we expect a number of our players to sign in the coming days.

“The club will be working with Washington over the Christmas period to set out a schedule for a local trial and then preseason training in preparation for the coach to arrive.

“In other great news for the Club, Naming Rights Sponsor, Bellamy’s Organic has confirmed their commitment for the 2018 season.

“We are thrilled to be known as the Bellamy’s Launceston Tornadoes again for the 2018 season. We have both enjoyed the benefits a strong relationship last season and we look forward to continuing to build on this in the coming year through game day activities and the players involvement in school and community events.” Finlay said.

The club hopes to make further sponsor announcements and players signings over the coming weeks.