The Australian basketball community is in mourning following the loss of former Boomer and Basketball WA Board Member John Gardiner, who passed away over the weekend after a battle with cancer.
For more than 50 years, John served as a player, coach and administrator at all levels of the game – including junior and senior clubs to State teams, the State Basketball League (SBL), the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL), National Basketball League (NBL), Olympics and World Championships.
As a player, John represented the Australian Boomers at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, 1968 Mexico City Summer Olympics and 1970 World Men’s Basketball Championships in Yugoslavia.
He also represented Newcastle Association for 15 years, winning an incredible 12 NSW titles with Newcastle, as well as representing NSW at the senior level for over a decade – including as a member of the NSW men’s team that won the 1967 Australian Men’s Championships.
After moving to Western Australia he went on to coach the Perry Lakes Hawks men’s basketball team to five SBL Championships in over 550 SBL game. During his coaching tenure at the Hawks, John also claimed the Men’s SBL Coach of the Year award three times, the most recent being 2008, and was the Hawks Director of Coaching for the past 25 years.
John was also the long serving Operations Manager at Basketball WA and a Life Member of both Basketball WA and Perry Lakes Hawks, along with being a member of the Basketball NSW Hall of Fame.
John was also Chair of the SBL Commission of Basketball WA for 26 years and was a long serving member on the Basketball WA Board and various committees and working groups. John’s contribution to coaching was recognised by being awarded the accolade of Head Coach for the SBL 25 year anniversary team last year.
Basketball WA Chair Elizabeth Woods said: “In addition to John’s enormous contribution to basketball in both Western Australia and nationally, he was an outstanding mentor and friend to many and shaped the lives of individuals both on and off the court.
“He will be dearly missed by all those who knew him and our thoughts are with his family at this extremely sad and difficult time.”
Chair of the Basketball Australia Board Scott Derwin extended his deepest sympathies to John’s family and friends on behalf of the broader basketball community.
“John was a bastion of the Western Australian and New South Wales basketball communities for more than five decades, contributing a tremendous amount to the sport and particularly to the development of younger players,” Mr Derwin said.
“Our thoughts are with John’s family and friends at this difficult time, he will be sadly missed by all.”
FIBA Oceania President Bob Elphinston described John as one of the real gentlemen in basketball.
“A wonderful athlete, powerhouse player for Newcastle for many years and best remembered for his place in Australia’s first great basketball success – qualifying beyond the odds and finishing 9th in 1964 Tokyo Olympics,” Mr Elphinston said.
“One can never forget the smile – and his love of basketball.”