Tributes flow for Goorjian
Tributes for Australia Post Boomers and Sydney Kings head coach Brian Goorjian flooded in last week as the NBL legend broke the all-time record for Philips Championship games coached.
Goorjian equalled former Melbourne Tigers legend Lindsay Gaze for the existing all-time record of 651 Philips Championship matches coached and then surpassed him when the Kings took on archrivals the West Sydney Razorbacks on January 25.
Stars from basketball and beyond lined up to pay tribute to Goorjian before his record-breaking game, including Sydney Swans AFL head coach Paul Roos and Wallaby legend John Eales.
Eales called Goorjian’s record-breaking effort “a wonderful achievement” while NBL Commissioner Rick Burton called the Kings coach “a living legend of Australian sport.”
Quotes on Goorjian Record:
“I consider Brian Goorjian to be one of the premier coaches in any sport in Australia, if not the world. He is certainly up there with the sporting coach greats and it is a great achievement to be breaking the all-time record for games coached in the NBL.”
Paul Roos, Sydney Swans AFL head coach
“Three aspects measure a great coach: their longevity, their success, and their passion for the players, and it is the latter that informs the former two.
“While Brian Goorjian’s statistics stand proud against those of any coach in any sport it is his passion for basketball and for his players that has made him great – his is a record that should be celebrated. That he has surpassed the great Lindsay Gaze is further endorsement of a wonderful achievement.”
Wallaby legend John Eales
“It is not just the fact of Brian's longevity in coaching that is commendable, but the fact that his teams have always been championship contenders as well. He is noted for being a great recruiter and that is because his boys always play hard for him and that motivates others to do so as well. Congratulations.”
Lindsay Gaze, former Melbourne Tigers head coach, the man who brought Goorjian to Australia to play and the legend whose games coached record Goorjian will break.
“Coaching professional sports is without a doubt one of the toughest and most cut throat businesses around. For Brian to break Lindsay Gaze’s extraordinary record at such a relatively young age is testament to just how great a coach Brian is. He has an extraordinary record of success and is a true icon of the NBL. There is no question he is a living legend of Australian sport. We hope he continues to coach in the Philips Championship for many years to come.”
NBL Commissioner Rick Burton
"Brian has not only been professional and successful, he's been a character in the game. He's brought people into the stadiums and people that have played under him have obviously respected him. For me to win a Championship with him was something I'll never forget and I think you form a friendship because of that. I want to wish him all the best because he's deserved all the success that he's got."
Shane Heal, South Dragons player/coach and former Sydney Kings player under Goorjian
“Goorj was the main reason I feel I was able to achieve the most out of my basketball career. He set me a goal of playing in the NBA, and helped me get there. He has been without doubt the best developer of young talent in Australian basketball history.”
Chris Anstey, Melbourne Tigers star, former NBA player and past Goorjian player
“To say Goorj is a passionate competitor doesn’t seem to say enough. He brings a new level of intensity onto the court every single day. The guy is obsessed with hoops and has absolutely made it his life.”
Brad Newley, guard for the Townsville Crocodiles and Australia Post Boomer
“He’s brought the best out of me personally and from a team perspective. He’s definitely squeezed the best out of every team I’ve played with him. Whether that’s a championship finish or maximising our finish on the ladder.”
“His selection and eye for talent both in regard to players and support staff and his ability to get his best out of every individual is second to none. His communication skills also go a long way to making him the best in the business.”
“I’ve been around Goorj for close to 15 years and I must admit I hated him for the first few years. I just thought he was too tough, but then I gained a real understanding of what it took to be a pro and that’s when the admiration for him and what it takes to get the job done set in.”
“It’s a feat I don’t think will ever be eclipsed because he’s not nearing the end of his career. I think he’s still got a lot to give if he would like to.”
Sydney Kings star Jason Smith
“Congrats Brian, an amazing accomplishment and a true Australian basketball icon. Your record speaks for itself. Not only a very good basketball coach, but one of Australia’s best sporting coaches ever.”
Trevor Gleeson, head coach of the Townsville Crocodiles
“Good on you Goorj, you are number one - literally. Great accomplishment, mate. I'm really proud of you.”
Al Westover, Melbourne Tigers head coach and former Goorjian teammate
"Brian Goorjian is one of the greatest coaches I've had in my career, even way back in my junior days. He helped me out a lot, he really taught me about being a professional and I congratulate him on the milestone. I look up to Goorj, he's a great guy. He's a winner and his record speaks for itself."
Kavossy Franklin, South Dragons guard and member of Goorjian’s 2003 Sydney Kings Championship team
“There are a lot of things that I could say about Brian Goorjian – and most of them are positive (smiles). I think the reason that Brian is breaking this record is his willingness to evolve as a coach. He’s constantly searching for new ways and techniques to become better and never for a minute thought he knew it all – when more often than not, he knew more than most. His ability to communicate and get the best out of his players is reflected in his record. Congratulations from someone who wouldn’t have achieved half the things I have without him being a part of it.”
Tony Ronaldson, Perth Wildcats star and former member of Goorjian’s teams at Eastside Spectres, South East Melbourne Magic and Victoria Titans
"Brian has reached a tremendous milestone, something which all coaches would like to strive towards. If I could emulate just a quarter of Brian's success in my own coaching career, I'd be a very happy man. Since Brian came to Australia as an import player, he has been a tremendous asset to the NBL and Australian basketball community. I wish him many more years of success ahead."
Gordie McLeod, Singapore Slingers head coach
"Being around Brian's passion, love for the game and pure intensity or ‘giving him some jam’ as he refers to it, is an opportunity that I was grateful to have. His NBL win/loss record speaks for itself and his longevity and the great players that he has developed shows that he is truly the benchmark for all coaches, now and in the future."
Brad Davidson, Singapore Slingers guard
"I’ve known Brian Goorjian since 1980 when I played in the Victorian Basketball Association and he had long flowing locks and then a mullet. Brian was at the hospital when my first son was born – he saw him when I saw him.
“Before Brian’s done coaching, he will have re-written all the record books and leave a legacy that will last many lifetimes. He is quite simply the best !
"There is no doubt whatsoever that he has been an icon of the game and Australian coaches have drawn on his experience, passion and knowledge.
"Personally I feel he’s just been such a student of basketball and that sums it all up because what he learns he passes on to not only players but to other coaches and fans.
“I congratulate Brian on an immensely successful career to date and owe him thanks for helping my son CJ to realise some outstanding achievements."
West Sydney Razorbacks head coach Cal Bruton
"Goorj's psychological approach to firing up his team is, I believe, his best coaching asset."
West Sydney player and former Sydney King under Goorjian Graeme Dann
“What can you say? He’s an absolute legend and an unbelievable coach. His record speaks for itself and I’m sure he could take any squad of 10 and still make the finals…that’s how good he is.”
New Zealand Breakers player Ben Pepper