International Senior Men
International Senior Men
Pete Strickland has been appointed as the Head Coach for the Irish Senior Men’s team.
The appointment was made by the MNCC (Men’s National Competitions Committee) who oversee the Senior Men’s Programme in conjunction with the EPC (Elite Performance Committee). Strickland will hold the position for two seasons (2016/17 and 2017/18), culminating in participation in the FIBA Small Nations European Championships in 2018.
Pete - who hails from Rockville, Maryland, USA - is no stranger to the Irish basketball scene, having played with Neptune Basketball Club in Cork from 1980-1982, where he became known for his fantastic ball handling skills and superb assists that helped send Neptune to an undefeated regular season and Top Four title. Despite having some experience working at summer camps growing up, it was in County Cork where Strickland made his coaching debut, becoming player/coach for Neptune at the age of just 23. He became well-known around the city not just for his promotion of the game throughout the local schools, but also for bringing the Maryland All-Stars together for a tournament in the Rebel county - a team who had never played together before but came over on a trip to Ireland with one thing in common: Pete Strickland.
Pete now boasts over 31 years of coaching experience across the professional, collegiate and high school ranks.
“I’m very excited about it. It feels great to be appointed,” he said. “My heart was in it straight away, having played in Ireland in the 1980s with Neptune and I’ve been back and forth since. I love Irish basketball and have worked with many coaches and players here.
“From nearly my first day in Ireland in the 1980s, I always wanted to coach the national team. I was so jealous of Bill Dooley when he had the opportunity to do it and knew it was something I wanted to do. Cork and Ireland was a hot bed for basketball at the time and if we can get that kind of a fire going again, that will be exciting. Wearing the green of Ireland will be a proud endeavour, and the senior Men’s and Women’s teams are two teams all underage players aspire to be on. They are the shining lights of Irish basketball and I can’t wait to see these players play smart and hard like Irish basketballers have always done."
Speaking about the announcement, Bernard O’Byrne, Basketball Ireland Secretary General and Chair of the MNCC, stated: “We are delighted to appoint Pete who is extremely well-known in Irish basketball circles. Pete brings a lot of experience to the role and will take Irish international basketball to a new level. We will support him in any way we can."
Pete has now also announced the first two members of his backroom team. Ioannis Liapakis has been appointed as Assistant Coach for the squad and brings with him a wealth of experience in coaching over the last number of years. Currently coaching UCD Marian’s Super League men’s team, Ioannis has also had huge success courtside outside of Ireland.
“Ioannis is one of the most respected coaches in the Irish game today,” Strickland noted. “He will be an invaluable addition to the Irish Senior Men's staff as his court acumen, people skills and international overview is a combination that will prepare our players for a high level of competition immediately. I am thrilled to be working with such a respected and capable basketball teacher and coach.”
Meanwhile, Galway’s Tom O’Malley has secured the position of Team Manager for the squad – another appointment that Strickland is very excited about.
“As an internationally experienced coach himself, Tom brings with him a wealth of knowledge to this role,” said Strickland. “This knowledge will translate invaluably to the organizational and administrative sides of the game - aspects that can directly impact a team's success. I am honored Tom will be joining our staff.”
Ireland Senior Men's Management Team:
Head Coach: Pete Strickland
Asst. Coach: Ioannis Liapakis
Team Manager: Tom O'Malley