IRELAND Senior Men’s Basketball Head Coach Pete Strickland led a special once-off coaches clinic in Killarney Sport Centre on Tuesday night. Assisted by top American college coach Chris Harney (St Mary’s College Maryland) and Killarney’s James Weldon (Basketball Ireland Green Shoots Initiative Development Officer), the clinic was attended by several coaches from St Paul’s Killarney and coaches from others Kerry basketball clubs.

Maryland native Pete Strickland was recently appointed as Ireland Head Coach following a very successful career coaching at college level in the USA. Pete’s connection with Ireland started way back in 1980 when he arrived in Ireland to play with Neptune Cork in the national league. he spent two seasons in Ireland and recalled fond memories of playing in Killarney during that golden era of Killarney basketball when the great Gleneagle side were the top team in the country.

“I remember playing games in the St Brendan’s College gym where the huge crowd was squeezed in and right next to the action on the court. It was an amazing atmosphere and Gleneagle had such a really good team then. Paudie O’Connor stood out and was a player ahead of his time. He had all the attributes of a great player and with two outstanding Americans in Tony Andre and Arnold Veasley alongside a good squad of local players, Killarney were a step ahead of many other teams in the league back then,” he said.

Pete returned to Ireland several times over the years coaching at various basketball camps in Dungarvan and other venues. At one particular camp in Castleisland in June 1988, Pete met a young John Teahan for the first time and inspired his interest in the game. It was John’s first time playing basketball and was the start of an amazing journey where he went on to win national leagues and cups as well as playing for the Irish senior men’s team.

Now in his mid 40s, John Teahan is still playing competitive basketball in the Kerry county league. This week, Coach Strickland and Coach Harney worked with young players from Rathmore and St Paul’s demonstrating excellent coaching skills and how to get the best out of young players. St Paul’s Basketball Club Chairman Padraig Weldon made special presentations to Pete and Chris to mark the occasion of their visit to Killarney. Padraig also thanked Sean Murphy of Murphy’s and Lord Kenmare’s Killarney for facilitating their stay in town by providing accommodation for them.

Above: Ireland Senior Men’s Basketball Head Coach Pete Strickland, left, with a group at a basketball coaching clinic in Killarney Sports Centre on Tuesday night. Picture: Eamonn Keogh

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