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The Rockingham Flames have begun the year with renewed energy after the announcement that club legend and SBL cult figure Darren Russell will return as an assistant coach for the 2013 season.
Head Coach Mark Utley made the announcement to the playing group when pre-season commenced on January 4th. He expects nothing short of an immediate impact.
“I asked Darren to help build the club back into a position of respect in the league with his strong beliefs in having the right attitude, culture and atmosphere around the club for success”.
Russell, known colloquially as ‘Whopper’, has played over 300 games for the Flames, including a stint as captain. He last played for Utley in 2007, and previously served as an assistant to former Cockburn Cougars coach Greg Gurr in 2009.
The Flames have also signed on a second assistant, John Hodges, who will fill the position of player liasion assistant held formerly by Cockburn Cougars championship-winning assistant Dave Stapleton in 2008-9.
Hodges has many years of experience in organisation and human resource management, and has been described by Utley as having a ‘strong business brain’.
“John will essentially be in charge of player liasion, dealing with team leaders and monitoring team feedback structures. He will be an integral part of our program”
With a background in soccer, Hodges has never really had much basketball experience, but explains he is picking it up very quickly.
“I am the first to admit that I don’t really understand the structures of basketball, but i’ll pick it up. I love all sports and this is just a new challenge for me, one that I am very excited about going forward. They are a great bunch of lads, it will be an exciting year for the Flames”
Hodges has previously assisted coach Utley in his time as head coach with the Mandurah Magic women.
Club legend Travis Moore has also committed to helping the team and assisting with advice, although at this stage is unsure of what level of commitment he can make in 2013.
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