American veteran Brian Goorjian, who led Australia’s basketball team at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, was Friday appointed to coach the Boomers at the Tokyo Games next year.
His confirmation follows former Philadelphia 76ers’ coach Brett Brown quitting the role last month, throwing preparations into turmoil ahead of an Olympics where Australia has high hopes of a maiden gold medal.
“Australia is very fortunate to have such a talented group of athletes at this time,” said Goorjian, 67, a six-time Australian NBL championship winning coach.
“There is certainly a feeling of unfinished business, so there is a strong commitment from these players to participating in the Tokyo Olympics.”
Highly regarded for his determination in getting the best from his teams, Goorjian has previously worked closely with senior Australian players Andrew Bogut, Patty Mills and Joe Ingles.
After leading Australia at the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Olympics, where they finished ninth and seventh respectively, he spent two years with the Japanese national side then 11 years in Chinese basketball, making him the longest serving foreign coach there to date.
“Brian’s success as a coach both domestically and internationally, plus his experience on the Olympic stage made him a standout candidate for this prestigious role,” said Basketball Australia chief Jerril Rechter.