By Murray McKinnon
Breakers stalwarts and legends Dillon Boucher and Paul Henare will take up new roles with the Club with the passing of the general manager’s role from Richard Clarke to Boucher and the head coach role from Dean Vickerman to Henare.
Breakers owner Paul Blackwell said that it is part of being a basketball dynasty.
“The new board set a vision for the Club to be a basketball dynasty and we wanted to build a foundation that we could have generational success. The next part has started with the appointment of Dillon Boucher and Paul Henare.
“Dean Vickerman had a three year contract and at the end of that contract he wanted to be replaced by a New Zealander. While Richard Clarke is moving to a new role with the Brisbane Bullets as they return to the league next season and he is joining up with his former colleagues Andrej Lemanis and CJ Bruton,” said Blackwell.
Since his retirement from the playing roster three years ago Boucher has been groomed to take on the general manager role learning the commercial aspects of the Club and in that time successfully growing the sponsorship and corporate hospitality of the Club.
“Henare has shown outstanding growth as a coach both in the assistant coach role and his head coaching roles in the New Zealand NBL and the Tall Blacks. Stepping into the head coach role is the perfect next step for him but one he had to earn in a competitive process,” said Blackwell.
Henare is excited and ready to take on the head coaching role.
“It’s a Club that’s been a huge part of my life for a long time it’s help mould me who I am as a man today and it’s because of that I take great pride that I take this role and own the responsibility that comes with it and it’s something that I’m extremely excited about not only to take on a new role but to lead such a fantastic organisation and franchise to work alongside one of my best mates (Boucher) and continue the dynasty that Paul mentioned it’s something I’m extremely grateful for and something I’m looking forward to,” he said.
He is also looking forward to the challenges that come with the role.
“Considering the success the Club has had but for me I’ve never been one to shy away from tough challenges and this is a new challenge and a tough one that I’m backing myself to do and one I’m extremely excited about at the same time.
“I’ve got experience and self-confidence and knowing that I’ve been on this pathway since I finished playing. Some may look at it as being a very quick process but for me over the last five and a half years I’ve really tried to fully immerse myself in coaching different programmes and different opportunities that brings myself to being here and I back myself,” added Henare.
Dean Vickerman said that he is pleased that Henare received the posting.
“I think it is important to bring some fresh ideas to the Club. Paul is different to me he’s a different person and he’s going to do it his way and I think the New Zealand players and everyone who comes to this programme will enjoy it and accept it,” he said.
And what for the future of Vickerman?
“You never know if you’ll see me back in the NBL, you never say no, it’s an absolutely great league, possibly right now my focus is more on having a different experience overseas and so I’ll probably research that one more.”
Boucher likewise is excited and knows that he has some big shoes to fill in his new role.
“It is an extremely hard act to follow, Richard Clarke has been a big part of this Club for a long time and he’ll be sorely missed for sure. I’m just excited to follow on in the legacy he leaves behind, but also look forward to learning from him before he leaves at the beginning of April, so I’ll be a sponge around him every five minutes, so for me it’s about learning from one of the best in the business and he’s left this place in a very good position and I look forward to grabbing that position and hopefully taking this Club to new heights as well,” said Boucher.
“There are going to be a lot of challenges, some of them I probably don’t even know about but for me the challenge I think is first and foremost is just understanding exactly how this organisation works and obviously I know the intricacies of the values and the family based values we live day to day by, but for me it’s about learning the day to day of being a GM and for me that’s probably the single biggest hurdle that I’ll have to overcome,” he added.
Coaching would have been the logical path to follow but Boucher feels he is more suited to the administration side of things.
“When I retired I thought about going down the coaching avenue and I’ve got a young family and I certainly wanted to be around for my young family and by, I guess, by pulling on the coaches hat you spend a lot of time away from the family so for me I wanted to spend that valuable time with my children while they were young and stay around for them. The second reason was because as a player even when I was playing I had a very commercial savvy background and I was always aware of sponsors and always aware of the intricacies of the organisation and it’s something that intrigued me to start with and then excited me so for me going down that commercial avenue was something that I saw that the Club was good at but something that I thought I could add my touch to and make it even better,” said Boucher.
Richard Clarke has been 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 it is held up by others as a model to follow. He has given 13 years of outstanding service to the Club and he now looks forward to the next path in his career with the Brisbane Bullets.
“It’s actually something I’m really excited about to focus purely on the basketball side of things with Andrej and we want to do things a little bit differently and that’s exciting because it’s a new challenge for me,” said Clarke.
Clarke believes that Boucher will have no trouble fitting into the GM role.
“He brings the competitive nature that he always had on the court, and he’s always had a commercial mind set and I’ve been working closely with him over the three years he’s been on board here with the view to bringing him into the GM role and I think the balance of commercial and basketball knowledge that he has which is tailor made for it. There will be challenges but the big part of the next three months is me working with him on the hand over and making sure that we’ve got everything in place for him.”