19 Jan 2016

Breakers' coach and CEO go in shakeup

1:37 pm on 19 January 2016

There will be a major shakeup at the New Zealand Breakers basketball club with Paul Henare to take over as head coach and another former player, Dillon Boucher, becoming general manager.

Outgoing Breakers coach Dean Vickerman.

Outgoing Breakers coach Dean Vickerman. Photo: Photosport

Henare, who has been assistant coach will take over from Dean Vickerman for next season, with the Australian not having his contract renewed.

Boucher, who has been Commercial Manager, replaces Richard Clarke, who will move to a similar position with the Brisbane Bullets, who return to the League next season.

Clarke will team up with his former colleagues Andrej Lemanis and CJ Bruton while Vickerman's next move is yet to be decided.

Henare will commence the head coach role at the conclusion of the 2015-16 season, while Boucher will assume the general manager role after Clarke relinguishes the position after April.

The Breakers, who have lost their last four games and are fifth in the NBL standings despite winning four of the past five championships, say they're taking the approach of wanting a managed succession and to promote from within.

The New Zealand Breakers coach Dean Vickerman is not happy following his side's controversial loss to Melbourne United.

Dean Vickerman is not happy following his side's controversial loss to Melbourne United. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

When Vickerman signed as head coach on a three-year contract to succeed Andrej Lemanis, the Breakers say he communicated to the board his intention to use that period to achieve at the highest level and deliver championships but also to develop the next Breakers coach, with the goal for that coach to be a New Zealander.

Henare has earned that shot with the experience of three seasons under Vickerman, two NZ NBL Championships as a head coach, and guiding the Tall Blacks for the past 12 months.

Since his retirement from the playing roster three years ago, Boucher has been groomed to take on the general manager role, working with CEO Richard Clarke to learn the commercial aspects of the club, in that time successfully growing the sponsorship and corporate hospitality revenue of the club.

The club is currently in the best financial position in its 13-year history and with the established elite and development pathways in place is in an ideal place to transition to the leadership of Henare and Boucher.

New Breakers General Manager and former Breakers player Dillon Boucher (left) and outgoing GM Richard Clarke.

New Breakers General Manager and former Breakers player Dillon Boucher (left) and outgoing GM Richard Clarke. Photo: Supplied

Club owners Paul and Liz Blackwell are confident that the Breakers succession planning will provide Boucher and Henare the ideal environment to continue to grow the club's success.

"This was always part of the plan, a day and an announcement that was effectively set in motion when Dean was appointed nearly three years ago," said Paul Blackwell.

"Paul has shown outstanding growth as a coach, both in the assistant coach role with us and his head coaching roles in the NZ NBL and Tall Blacks. He continues to learn and grow, and stepping into the head coach role at the Breakers is the perfect next step for him but one he had to earn in a competitive process.

"He has been a big part in establishing the culture and now gets the opportunity to lead it forward. There is an outstanding support structure in place from Judd Flavell, Mike Fitchett and the rest of our high performance team. It is a proud moment for the club to have a foundation player step into the Head Coach role."

Blackwell was equally confident in Boucher's transition to the GM role.

"Since Dillon retired from the playing roster and joined the commercial team he has been fully immersed in all aspects of the off-court management of the club. The leadership he showed on the court is equally visible with our off court team, and I believe he will really thrive in this role.

"We have a very experienced commercial team to support Dillon, who have set the benchmark for fan experience and community engagement. It is part of our culture to give our people big challenges and big opportunities to succeed, and we have no doubt that the whole off-court team will continue to deliver those successes under Dillon's leadership."

Henare spoke of his pride at being given the opportunity to coach the team he played for with so much passion.

"We have always spoken at this club about pathways, for players but also for coaches. For me this is another step on that pathway, one I am humbled to accept and proud to take on. I love the game of basketball, outside of my family this is my life and this club has given me so much over the years as a player and now as a coach. I look forward to the opportunity to learn further in this new role, and to give something back to the club and to the basketball community."

Boucher was equally excited about the next phase in his career in his post-playing days.

"My family and I are extremely excited about the new role, it is something that was spoken about me working towards when I retired from playing. I am taking on the role of General Manager at a very exciting time for the Club and also a very exciting time for the NBL with all the positive change.

"I am really looking forward to establishing an even closer working relationship with my good friend Pauli and not only maintaining the high standards of the club but breaking new ground in the future. Richard has done a fantastic job of leading the Breakers and assisting in this transition for me to the new role, I will continue to work closely with Richard and continue to learn all I can from him before his departure in April".

Blackwell paid tribute to the role that Vickerman and Clarke have played in the 13-year history of the club.

"Richard has been a part of the organisation from day one and has been through the tough early years and led the transformation of the club to the point where we are held up by others as a model to follow. Liz and I are incredibly proud of what Richard has achieved and the growth of the club in that time, but also in Richard at a personal level. In many ways his career path has mirrored that of the club, he can be tremendously proud of what he has achieved in his 13 years with the club.

"Dean was patient during his time as assistant to Andrej and when it came time for him to step up to the top job he has delivered both in terms of another championship, but perhaps more importantly in the development of others around him, most notably in his work with Paul and Judd. The name Vickerman will always feature strongly in the club's history."

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