With the confirmation of Bury St. Edmunds Bulldogs Senior team being placed into the National Basketball League Division 3, Coach Arron MacDonald has quickly moved to fill out his staff for the season ahead with a trio of familiar names.
Having last coached the Bulldogs to a Suffolk league and cup double a decade ago, Arron's father, club legend, Andrew MacDonald has come out of retirement to take a place as an Assistant for the Men's team.
"There's nobody's opinion in basketball that I trust more than my Dad." said Coach MacDonald. "Family is really important to me, so I'm never going to skip an opportunity like this to spend time with him, but also, the opportunity to have such an inspirational figure from our club's past involved and interacting with our teams on a regular basis was simply too good to pass up."
Mac had this to say "Arron and Ashley were speaking to me ahead of the trials about getting involved again, and having came along and been a part of the trials process, I couldn't think of a better opportunity for me to get back involved with the club in a different capacity, having just stepped-down as Chairman. I'm really looking forward to working with the guys, and I'm hoping we have a great season."
Coach MacDonald also coaxed another recently-retired coach back to the court, albeit someone who added a touch of youth to the bench, in former Forest Heath Harriers coach, Patrick Merryweather.
"It's fair to say that Pat and I didn't always see eye-to-eye in the past." said Coach MacDonald "But that's almost a given when you've got two competitive guys each running a team a few miles away from one another. I think we've both grown up a lot in the time that's passed, and from speaking to Pat, it was really clear that he wanted an opportunity to get back into the game and hone his craft, and I think he's going to be a great fit for us, both for next season and in the future."
Patrick had this to say: "Having been out of the game for several years due to work commitments, I'd been looking for a way to get back into the sport, and after a few discussions with Arron, watching a Senior game at Skyliner alongside the late John Symons, and observing a few sessions, I could clearly see the direction that the club was going in, and felt that this was the right opportunity for me, at the right time. The opportunity to work alongside Arron and Mac with the Senior NBL side was too good to pass up, and I'm looking forward to the season."
The final addition to the staff came when current Club Member of the Year Lynne Quelch volunteered to become the Senior Team Manager for the coming season, along with a host of other roles which Lynne holds within the club.
"Lynne was my first choice to be our Team Manager" said Coach MacDonald. "However, with her also balancing the Secretary and Welfare Officer roles, we weren't sure that she would look to get involved in this way, this season. Essentially, Lynne will serve as the NBL Court Manager on home game days, and assist the coaching staff with the management of the Senior side during our first season, and to be able to add someone with her NBL experience and who's already a fixture at the club, is a massive boost for us."
On the court, the Bulldogs are still open to making "the right" additions to the playing squad "I'm really quite happy with our current roster, although we're still trying to firm up a few spots." said Coach MacDonald. "We've built a side based around a mix of our talented youngsters and some of the veterans at the club, along with a group of Senior players from Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambs and Essex."
"We've also seen a few players who we were originally looking to bring on-board or were in the trial group fall away for personal reasons, and having both County Upper and UEA also joining the division has thinned the player pool a little more than we'd have liked, but we're still working on a couple of things and looking for the right kind of roster additions, but even if we weren't to add any more players, we'll have a hardworking, unselfish side out there representing our club, and hopefully that'll give us a platform to build from in this division."
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