ALEX Gynes says a big picture-approach is crucial after answering Warrnambool Seahawks' last-minute call for a new coach.
The former NBL-listed player has replaced Shane Smith in the hot seat - less than two weeks out from the Seahawks' Big V season-opener on March 13.
Gynes' appointment coincides with confirmation both Warrnambool programs - the Seahawks and Mermaids - will play in 2021 after the club ironed out COVID-19 concerns.
The teams, which will start their campaigns on the road, will welcome up to 400 spectators to the Arc for home games to fit within the state government's COVID-Safe mandates.
MORE BASKETBALL: Molly preparing for first Big V game since 2018
Gynes said he liaised with Smith, who has stepped down for personal reasons, before accepting the coaching role.
"I had a good chat to him about taking the job and my wife Nicole, obviously being a basketball person herself, and decided to put my hand up, made a few phone calls and here we are," he told The Standard.
"We had training last night and I came out of that very excited to be honest.
"We had a good showing and a mix of older and younger ones. We'll go through the year with an Australian group.
"It's highly unlikely an import will be on the cards. I am excited to take on that challenge."
Seahawks president Jacob Sobey, who had intended to step down from the role at its upcoming annual general meeting, has also decided to re-nominate to provide stability.
"I've had time to reflect as well. It's probably not the best time for me to step away," he said.
"I will be nominating myself for the upcoming AGM, just for a 12-month period while COVID does its thing.
"I don't want to dump it and run with everything that is going on. There is a new committee and I will be there advising."
Sobey said the club weighed up its options before deciding the best approach was to field teams despite an uncertain climate.
It comes after the Big V was forced to cancel its 2020 season due to the pandemic.
"We originally had some concerns in regards to the season going ahead and some were around COVID and how we would manage that," he said.
"There were a few risks we didn't identify initially - people coming to and from Melbourne and the fact we've got people who play and work in schools.
"We are comfortable now to go ahead next week. We've consulted with the league a number of times as well as with the coaching and playing groups and the overwhelming majority of the playing group wanted to go ahead with the season.
"We're not expecting a championship this year from either team, it's a matter of getting the teams back on the court and used to the programs and systems again and keeping the kids involved."
Sobey said the club was excited to welcome fans to home games.
The 400-person cap stand cap is half capacity. There will also be 30 permitted in the glass function room.
It will be for sponsors and elderly fans.
"We have a capacity at the moment of 400 in the Arc in the main stand," Sobey said.
"It is still pretty good, it's not to our full capacity and we'll be monitoring it across the year.
"We're not running canteens or bars at the moment. If things do ease up we'll look to open up more."
Sobey, 26, said the Seahawks were disappointed to lose a coach of Smith's calibre but were rapt to have Gynes step into the position.
"I am confident he'll do a good job and use the year to develop some of those younger kids while also retaining some of those senior guys," he said.
"We understand he has a young family and coaching Big V pretty much puts you out of action six months of the year, four days of the week. It can be quite taxing.
"We are pleased he's willing to take on that role."
Gynes - father to Ollie, 5, and Elsie, 3, - said Tim Gainey, Simon O'Keefe, James Mitchell, Adam Lawson, Liam Osborne and the returning Benson Steere would make up the Seahawks' experienced core.
Riley Nicolson, Mojwok Akoch, Jarra Blackney-Noter, Hayden Rhook and brothers AJ and Malakye Cunningham - sons of club legend Bobby - form the next generation nucleus.
"For myself it's a matter of trying to get that link between the older group that's been around for the last five years and trying to bring youth into the program, he said.
He said the Seahawks would build across the season with a long-term view of developing skills.
He said it was a bigger picture-approach and wouldn't be based "on the scoreboard and ladder".
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