Finch steps down as GB Men's coach
By Dave Ryan
Chris Finch will stand down as head coach of the GB team following the London 2012 Olympics.
The 42-year-old has been in charge of the GB side since they reformed in 2006, leading them to promotion from Division B in 2007 and the EuroBasket finals in 2009 and 2011. The former Sheffield Sharks play-caller has seen his club career blossom while in charge of Britain, progressing from Europe to the NBA Development League where he led Rio Grande Valley Viper to back-to-back D-League Finals. His success with the Vipers saw him gain a spot on the bench with their parent club Houston Rockets when he became Kevin McHale’s first signing with the Texas franchise.
The demands of an assistant coach job in the NBA meant that Finch was widely tipped to step down following the Olympics. Finch began his career in Sheffield and earned three BBL Cup Final titles while at the helm also being awarded the BBL Coach of the Year in 1998-99. The Sharks was also where he played during his four-year professional playing career, and along with China coach Bob Donewald is the only former BBL coach to progress to the NBA.
After the second half collapse against Australia on Saturday evening, Finch was delighted to see his team wrap up their Olympic journey with a 90-58 hammering of China on Monday:
“We wanted to come out and make history. Our guys were up for that challenge. It's what we needed. It's what the basketball community in general needed. We're very proud, they came out with a lot fire in their belly and played well.
"It was important for our programme that we go out with a win and made history. It was what our guys and the basketball community in general needed. We had some guys out there playing their last games either in the programme or their career, and I thought those guys were quite inspirational tonight and I think our team did a good job of feeding of guys like Kieron [Achara] when he came in.”
After seven summers in the job, Finch hopes that he has let a programme that will continue to grow: “I think in general the game will get a shot in the arm from our presence here. I went for a walk in the Olympic park yesterday, and I was amazed at how many people knew who I was, and offered their support. That’s just a microcosm but I think it’s good for the game. While our performances didn’t come with the results we’d hoped for, they came with a lot of potential to keep building the programme. We understand the lifeblood of these programmes is about funding, so it’s important we keep putting ourselves in a position to show potential.
“I think we have a bright future and that the game here overall is coming together with the grassroots and professional game working hand in hand. Hopefully, looking back that is what this will have done. We’ve done a lot in seven years, if you look at the other countries they didn’t build their programmes in seven years, so we’ve done well.
“The focus should now be on our guys, it’s been an amazing odyssey. I said from the very beginning that the challenge was to build something. I thought we did a lot of thing.
"We achieved a lot of things and kept proving ourselves and that's the most satisfying thing. We took every challenge thrown at us, fell a little short here . I thought we were in for a break-out summer, but it wasn’t to be. But I’ll look back at with pride, both personally and professionally.”