2019 Marty Handson Scholarship recipients announced

BASKETBALL Victoria and FIBA Oceania are proud to announce Gail Macfarlane (Traralgon) and Kaleb Sclater (Maffra) as the inaugural scholarship recipients of the Marty Handson Coaching Scholarship.

Basketball Victoria Country has teamed with FIBA Oceania to provide two coaching scholarship opportunities – one each for a female and male coach – in 2019 through the program with Macfarlane and Sclater set to receive a number of coaching opportunities including a FIBA Oceania Coaching Tour later this year.

Basketball Victoria and FIBA Oceania launched the Marty Handson Coaching Scholarship to provide coaching scholarship opportunities to Gail Macfarlane and Kaleb Sclater to receive several coaching opportunities including a FIBA Oceania Coaching Tour in the Oceania Region.

Gail Macfarlane, from Traralgon Amateur Basketball Association, has been involved in country basketball since moving to Traralgon as a junior and has appreciated the help she’s received over the years and wants to give back now through this scholarship.

“The support from Dave Huxtable and Jodie Harlow particularly in our region from Basketball Victoria Country believing in me and giving me coaching opportunities endlessly I’m always grateful and thankful for those,” Macfarlane said. “There are so many people behind the scenes that I would love to thank for just giving me this opportunity and believing in me.

“The opportunity to work with other athletes and work with FIBA Oceania and what they have in store for us and developing a program to share that love of the game with other people is really exciting.

“I’m very fortunate my family really encouraged me and gave me those opportunities to shine and develop. Some people at Traralgon so Wayne Royal has been another fantastic mentor, Bill Jeffs at Korumburra has been a mentor though the country system for me as well.

“Joe Brouns is another great friend and mentor, was great friends with Marty Handson as well and learnt a lot from Joe, so I think just taking elements from all of those fantastic basketball people and trying to be like them and share what they shared with me with the new generation is a huge big opportunity.”

Kaleb Sclater, from Maffra Basketball Association, is excited to carry on the incredible work that Handson and other elite Country coaches have instilled within the community.

“It’s pretty special,” Sclater said. “Marty’s (Handson) from down our way and I still remember Marty from our skills days when I was a kid – he’s a big name throughout our area, as well as Basketball Victoria and Basketball Victoria Country, so to be the first scholarship recipient, it’s pretty special.

“I’d just like to thank Basketball Victoria Country and FIBA Oceania – it’s a massive honour to be given this and it’s going to help me greatly.

“Everything they’ve done so far has been really supportive and I’m really excited to do the scholarship for them and be an ambassador.”

Basketball Victoria Country Manager David Huxtable said it is exciting to see what the scholars will achieve through this incredible opportunity.

“Kaleb and Gail have showcased their passion and desire for the country basketball over a number of years and we’re looking to develop them as leaders going forward with the Marty Handson Scholarship,” Huxtable said. “It was important to Basketball Victoria Country, in conjunction with FIBA Oceania, to provide an elite pathway for coaches to rise up in our sport throughout regional Victoria. 

“We also actioned the need to have two scholarships – one male and one female – to give further opportunities to female coaches throughout the state in our female coaching development strategy.

“This is an inspirational coaching pathway – the Marty Handson Scholarship will give coaches of all ages an opportunity to do something outside of their traditional pathways, especially the chance to coach internationally and promote the international aspects of our sport and showcase opportunities for our coaches around the world as well.

“We’re proud to see where Gail and Kaleb will go with their coaching as they take the next step into the coaching ranks.”

FIBA Oceania Executive Director David Crocker said the long-standing relationship between Victoria Country and FIBA Oceania through Marty Handson made this an ideal partnership for the two organisations.

“Victoria Country and Marty Handson have held a long association with Oceania, with many coaches visiting smaller national federations to share coaching and referee programs,” Crocker said. “Marty was a brilliant coach and advocate for coaching development across Victoria and throughout Oceania – when he visited Kiribati in 2015 he had a huge impact with the coaches and players during his stay.

“Partnering with Basketball Victoria to honour Marty in this manner and provide some amazing opportunity for Victoria Country coaches is something I am pleased to see FIBA Oceania involved in.”

The scholarship recipients were selected through Basketball Victoria Country’s U14 Skills Days and will become part of the Basketball Victoria Country’s Regional Academy as an on-floor coach.

This scholarship culminates in December 2019 as the coaches will spend a week in on a FIBA Oceania Coaching Tour in the Oceania Region. This opportunity, supported by Basketball Victoria and FIBA Oceania, will prove to be an exceptional, unique experience for the two scholarship coaches.

The scholarship has been named in honour of iconic Victorian Country coach Marty Handson, who sadly passed away in 2016. His passion and spirit for coaching is well-known throughout the basketball community. Handson undertook a number of roles throughout coaching and basketball in general both within Victoria and abroad, including Victoria Country High Performance Coach, VC Commission Member and FIBA Coach Educator.

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