Claudia Brassard enters the Fire
Image Credit: Townsville Fire
The Townsville Fire have appointed a new head coach, Claudia Brassard. The former assistant coach steps in as the successor to the departing coach Chris Lucas, as he announced earlier this month his plans to move back home to Adelaide to be with his family.
Lucas, who guided the Fire to 4 grand finals and 2 Championships in just 5 seasons, has set an extremely high benchmark for Brassard to maintain. However Brassard is certainly up to the challenge, possessing a depth of knowledge from her own experience as a player and being the second-in-charge to Lucas.
Talking to the Townsville Bulletin, Brassard said, "From the moment I arrived at the Fire, I have loved this club. I have loved this city and I have always harboured ambitions to coach this team in my own right one day."
"I feel like I have learnt a lot under Chris and I am up for the challenge of trying to maintain our continued success."
As a former Olympian for her home country Canada, Brassard is an experienced WNBL player. She spent five seasons with the Fire, two seasons as captain, earning an MVP award in that time.
Brassard grasped an opportunity for a test run as head coach in the 2015/16 season, stepping in for 3 games in the absence of Lucas, currently boasting an umblemished record.
Brassard's tenure with the Fire will be focused on building upon her pristine record, with some of their most prominent players in Micaela Cocks, Mia Murray and Darcee Garbin all extending their contracts with the Fire. The dominant Suzy Batkovic will also be up and firing as captain of Townsville as she heads into her final season of her current contract.
There's no doubt Lucas has shouldered the load and been integral in facilitating the Fire's recent era of success. His departure exposes the entire club to change and possibly some re-structuring of the team and their style of play. It will be a massive test for the players to maintain their stunning form, and for Brassard in keeping the Fire at the pointy end of the ladder next season.
I'm tipping their level of experience, talent and quality leaders will still be the benchmark for the entire league, still holding their position as the team to beat.