Andrew Gaze: Timing of Sydney Kings announcement ‘not ideal’
In his first one on one interview since it emerged he would be quitting his post as Head Coach of the Sydney Kings – Andrew Gaze says the timing of the announcement isn’t ideal for the franchise on the eve of the NBL finals.
Gaze confirmed the news after a meeting with Kings’ officials late last night before addressing reporters earlier on Tuesday.
It’s been a whirlwind 12 months for Gaze which commenced prior to the season even beginning when the Kings signed former NBA superstar Andrew Bogut in April.
High expectations were immediately placed on the powerhouse franchise with Bogut partnering up with the likes of Jerome Randle, Kevin Lisch, Brad Newley and David Wear to form a star-studded starting five – meaning the pressure has been on Gaze to get the Kings their championship since 2005.
Sydney finished third on the NBL ladder with 18 wins equal with Melbourne United and the top of the table Perth Wildcats in their best performance since re-entering the competition in 2010.
But with the reality of having to live in a different state to his family, Gaze says it’s been tough and mentally challenging throughout the season.
“It was a genuine, mutual decision,” Gaze said.
“What it was, when I was approached about next year I was advised the process had been in place and I think it’s absolutely appropriate and I encourage those processes to be in place to get the right people in the right positions.
“They asked if I would like to be a part of that process because I’m out of contract.
“Given that where I was with my own head and my family and being away from them for a long period of time, I was unwilling to go through that process.”
It’s been an eventful week for Gaze and the Kings who sealed their finals spot with a five-point win over Cairns on Saturday – before star recruit Bogut took out the league’s MVP ahead of Casper Ware and Bryce Cotton.
Gaze also finished third for the Coach of the Year Trophy behind Melbourne United’s Dean Vickerman and Illawarra’s Rob Beveridge.
The Kings will meet Melbourne United in their semi-final series with the first game on Thursday, February 28 in Melbourne, before a return leg in Sydney and a potential game three decider in Melbourne.
The 53-year-old said his decision to step away after the season won’t distract his team’s shot at an NBL title – but did admit the timing could have been better.
“In a perfect world, no it’s not ideal,” Gaze said.
“But I think you have to understand the business of sport, in particular the business of the NBL.
“I think we were going through a process where we reached this resolution four or five weeks ago.
“A lot of people believed that was the right time to go out and tell everyone then, but I was against that.
“But what’s happened since then is a lot of speculation, a lot of rumour, a lot of the players we were trying to re-sign were curious about what lies ahead.
“It was just felt that this was the appropriate time. For me and the leaders of the team they knew about it for a while, I informed all the players before we went public about it.
“Because we’ve been around for it for a long period of time, it has no impact on us, it has more impact on others, but within a 12 hour period this will probably be forgotten and we’ll move on.”
Gaze is in his third season in Sydney and has a 50 percent winning record with 42 wins and 42 losses.
He is also considered to be one of the best players in the NBL’s history having won seven MVP awards and two championships with the Melbourne Tigers.
The basketball legend says he still wants to coach in the future.
Click ‘play’ to hear the full interview below.