Arguably the most successful coach to have served in the National Basketball League, Goorjian coached 735 games between 1988 and 2009 for 514 wins – the most in NBL history.
In an NBL coaching career spanning two decades, Brian also amassed six NBL championships, six Lindsay Gaze NBL Coach of the Year awards, 19 consecutive NBL play-off appearances and 13 NBL Grand Final series appearances.
Goorjian served as Head Coach of the Australian Boomers in 115 games between 2002 and 2008, including the 2004 and 2008 Olympics Games, the 2006 Commonwealth Games – where the Boomers won gold – and 2006 FIBA World Championships.
A humbled Goorjian paid tribute to the colleagues, players and administrators who had shared his passion for pushing the game forward at home and abroad.
“This award is a result of the hard work, skill and determination of those many players and administrators who I have had the very great privilege to work with since arriving in Australia in 1977, first as a player and then as a coach,” Goorjian said.
“To them I say a most sincere thank you – as without their efforts, dedication and wise counsel, I would not be receiving this recognition today.
“I am truly immensely humbled and honoured to be standing in the same company as some of the legends of our game – people like Lindsay Gaze to whom I am eternally indebted for giving me my first opportunity to come to Australia when I arrived fresh out of college.
“I would also like to thank Basketball Australia for putting their trust in me to lead our national programs at two Olympics, a Commonwealth Games and a World Championship.
“There is no greater honour than to represent your country on the world stage, particularly one like Australia that has such a proud tradition of sporting prowess and public support.
“To the Honours and Awards Commission, I appreciate greatly that you recommended me to receive this award – to be recognised by one’s peers in the ultimate honour.”
Goorjian – who has been coaching in China since 2009 – will be unable to attend the ABHF induction dinner due to his current Head Coach duties with the Dongguan Leopards in the Chinese Basketball Association.
Two-time Olympian, former Boomers Captain and NBL MVP Jason Smith – with whom Goorjian won three NBL Championships – will attend the 2013 ABHF induction dinner to accept Goorjian’s award on his behalf.
Smith highlighted Goorjian’s eye for talent, skill in developing players, strong leadership abilities and determination to succeed as being among his greatest assets.
“Brian was my basketball mentor and coach for close to 15 years, but he taught me so much more than just how to play the game – I picked up many a life lesson through spending so much time with him, lessons that were invaluable in my progression as a player and as a person,” Smith said.
“It took me some time to realise it, but everything Brian did was for our benefit, to teach us about the game and how it should be played.
“He’s easily the best communicator I’ve ever been around – right across my basketball life, corporate life and personal life. He knows how to get his message across and how to get the best out of his players regardless of where they sit.
“He’s also acutely aware of both his abilities and his limitations, so he’s always willing to surround himself with the right people to complement his style – assistant coaches, technical coaches, dieticians – he’s always tapped into the best of the best.
“I’ll never forget that third NBL Championship with the Sydney Kings. After the back to back championship, it was always going to take a momentous effort to get the three-peat, but Brian knew just what the team needed to get it done.
“His work ethic and attention to detail that season were unparalleled. It resulted in achieving something that no other team had ever done before.”
Basketball Australia Chief Executive Officer Kristina Keneally congratulated Brian on his induction into the 2013 class of the Australian Basketball Hall of Fame.
“Brian Goorjian is one of Australian basketball’s great icons and one of the most respected coaches in our sport. The contribution he has made to basketball at both the league and international levels is truly remarkable,” Ms Keneally said.
“In the history of the National Basketball League, no one has coached more games for more wins than Brian – and his winning percentage actually exceeds that of many Australian coaches across a number of other professional leagues.
“He stood proudly at the helm of the Australian Boomers at two Olympic Games, and it was of course under his leadership that the Boomers won gold at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
“Brian is more than worthy of his place in the Australian Basketball Hall of Fame, and we look forward to celebrating his prestigious honour in November.”
Background Information – Brian Goorjian
- Coached 735 NBL games between 1988 and 2009 for 514 wins (most in NBL history)
- Winner of six NBL championships (1992, 1996, 2002–03, 2003–04, 2004–05, 2008–09)
- Winner of six Lindsay Gaze NBL Coach of the Year awards (1992, 1997–98, 2001–02, 2007–08 and 2008–09)
- Nineteen consecutive NBL play-off appearances between 1990 and 2009
- Coached in 13 NBL Grand Final series between 1991 and 2009
- Served as coach of the Boomers in 115 games between 2002 and 2008
- Two-time Olympian (9th place finish in Athens in 2004, 7th place finish in Beijing in 2008)
- Coached the Boomers to a gold medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games
- Holds the Melbourne Tigers’ club record for most made three-point baskets in a game (10 in 1984)