The Steelformers Taranaki Mountainairs will welcome former player Willie Banks to the top post of Head Coach for the Sal’s NBL 2020 season.
Banks will replace Dave Bublitz, who recently won a seat on local council and had to make the tough decision to reduce his day-to-day role with the team.
That said, Bublitz will still be an active force at the Mountainairs, helping Banks behind the scenes in the new role of Manager of Basketball Operations where he will lead player recruitment, roster management and contracts.
Banks is a former NBL player and a Mountainairs favourite having travelled to New Zealand to play the sport he loves, before staying and starting a family. He last played for the team in 2013 as a then 42-year old.
Banks has coached locally for a number of years and recently (2017) claimed a championship at the Secondary School Nationals with Stratford High School.
Airs President Laine Hopkinson is excited about the team’s new set-up.
“We respect the shift in work-life balance for Dave (Bublitz) and we’re really pleased to still have him involved in a very important position,” said Hopkinson, adding “We are equally as delighted to welcome Willie as coach of the Airs, he is a Mountainair, he is well respected in the region and we know he will be a terrific leader.”
Banks will get straight to work with player recruitment an immediate task as all NBL teams start the process of assembling their respective rosters for 2020.