Taipans at the ax of the NBL Kelly Coach of the Year | Central Western Daily


Mike Kelly was sacked by the Cairns Taipans despite the reigning NBL Coach of the Year still having one season on his contract. Dust still settled on the Taipans’ ninth defeat in 10 games – a 25-point beating by table leaders Melbourne United in Sydney – when Cairns announced Kelly would not return next season. Kelly was hired until the end of the 2021-2022 campaign, but is now set to sign as Taipans’ mentor in their final game of this season – Wednesday night’s clash with the New Zealand Breakers in Rotorua . Kelly held the reins of the Taipans for three years and toast Cairns in 2019-20 after bouncing off a wooden spoon season and guiding them to the semi-finals. However, the Taipans have lost patience with the bottom side with an 8-27 record – unaided by a wave of injuries and the mid-season departure of import Cam Oliver. Cairns’ season was arguably best summed up by Monday night’s game, with just nine players available against United after young pistol Mojave King (ankle) and Venky Jois (personal reasons) became the latest casualties. “It has been a difficult year for everyone, and our club have certainly had their own unique challenges over the past 12 months,” Taipans President Troy Stone said in a statement. “It was a tough decision for the board to make, but it was identified as one of the steps needed to take the club forward.” We admire how hard Mike has gone through the past three seasons. “Mike’s contributions to the club and the Cairns community have been nothing short of excellent, and his values ​​and integrity are, and have been, a real strength.” Cairns said they would begin discussions with the head coach candidates in the coming weeks. Kelly gave no indication the ax was about to fall when he spoke to the media after United’s beaten. “It has been a season of ups and downs, and going through adversity like all teams,” he said. “Then not having Mojave and Venky not coming on a trip added to that, but it was a chance to play basketball and have some fun there, but they (United) are a really good team. ” Australian Associated Press


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