The Ballarat Miners are an Australian basketball team based in Ballarat, Victoria. The Miners compete in the Men's NBL1 South and play their home games at the Ballarat Sports Events Centre. The team is affiliated with Ballarat Basketball Association, the major administrative basketball organisation in the region. Their sister team, the Ballarat Rush, play in the Women's NBL1 South.
|Arena||Ballarat Sports Events Centre|
|Team colors||Navy, Gold & White |
|Main sponsor||Hotondo Homes Ballarat & City of Ballarat|
|Team manager||Glenn White|
|Championships||3 (1989, 1994, 1995)|
The Ballarat Basketball Association Inc. was incorporated in 1966 and then built its own freehold facility in 1969 on the corner of Grevillea Road and Dowling Street in Wendouree to later become known as the Ballarat Minerdome. Backed by a flourishing local basketball program and facilities at the forefront of regional basketball associations, it was announced in 1985 that Ballarat would lodge an application to join the South East Basketball League (SEBL).
Basketball Ballarat formed a separate independent club to arrange the new venture and the Elite Teams department was established. The team chosen to represent Ballarat was called the Ballarat Miners and in 1986 the Miners were admitted into the SEBL.
The Dynasty (1987–1996)Edit
Having entered the league in 1986, the Miners were immediately a force to be reckoned with. With Brian Goorjian at the helm, Ballarat reached the ultimate goal, with the South Conference Championship in 1987, only a year after their introduction.
Goorjian departed at the end of the 1987 season and was replaced by Al Westover, who subsequently took the team to a Conference three-peat from 1989 to 1991, taking the South Conference for the first two years before following it up with the East Conference when moving across conferences in 1991. Westover was honoured with the inaugural Coach of the Year award in 1990 for his leadership with Ballarat throughout those three years. The Miners accomplishments continued after the departure of Westover at the end of 1991, with Eric Lowe taking the side to conference runners-up in 1992 before Brendan Joyce took over in 1993.
In Joyce's first season, the Miners went through the regular season with a stellar record of 20–4, eventually losing the Conference Semi-final and finishing second overall. But the following two years they again achieved the ultimate success with two CBA National Championships with win/loss ratios of 18–4 and 19–3.
Joyce went one better than Westover, collecting consecutive Coach of the Year awards for his leadership over 1994 and 1995. 1996 saw Paul Hotchin take over as head coach and with an array of stars in his line-up, he helped take them to another final, eventually losing to North West Tasmania after a regular season record of 16–6.
With the introduction of the SEABL Most Valuable Player award, Eric Cooks made it his own, taking the prize in both 1989 and 1990. He was also included in the SEABL All-Star side in 1993, 1995 and 1996, and has an individual career winning percentage of over 75%. Cooks tops the SEABL All-time list for blocked shots, is fourth in total points, and second for total rebounds. Small forward Eric Hayes was a part of the 1994 All-Star team and has played more games than any other SEABL player. Hayes also sits second for All-time points scored, third for total rebounds and first for free throws attempted and made.
During the four-year period with Hotchin and Joyce at the helm, Ballarat went 73–17 for the regular seasons, while also recording a 2–2 win-loss ratio in Conference Finals, and a 7–1 record for National Finals, to finish 82–20 in a period of dominance in the SEABL.
This era saw the Ballarat Miners create one of the most successful dynasties in the history of Australian basketball.
New era (2014–present)Edit
The Miners burst into the post-season in 2014 after an eight-year hiatus and again in 2015. Both matches were lost on the road, falling short of Dandenong each time in conference semi-finals. After missing the post-season in 2016, the Miners reached the SEABL South Conference final in 2017, marking their first conference final appearance in 16 years.
In 2019, following the demise of the SEABL, the Miners joined the NBL1 South. The NBL1 South season did not go ahead in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, the Miners played out of the Ballarat Sports Events Centre.
- "History". BallaratBasketball.com. Archived from the original on 6 November 2016. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
- "FROM THE VAULT: SEABL REMEMBERS THE BALLARAT MINERS DYNASTY". Australiabasket.com. Archived from the original on 6 June 2017. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
- "New-gen Miners' time to create benchmarks". TheCourier.com.au. 25 August 2017. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
- "CONFERENCE FINALS PREVIEW- MEN'S". SEABL.com.au. 24 August 2017. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
- "NBL1 to Showcase Next Level of Australia's Basketball Talent". NBL.com.au. 15 February 2019. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
- Arsenis, Damian (20 March 2020). "2020 NBL1 season facing uncertainty as South teams withdraw". pickandroll.com.au. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
- Whelan, Melanie (23 February 2021). "Ballarat Sports and Events Centre stage two development set for approval to H Troon". thecourier.com.au. Retrieved 22 September 2021.