DESPITE there being 14 years between his SBL head coaching stints, Randy Miegel always wanted to get back in the main seat at some stage and now he hopes after three years of building that he can help the Mandurah Magic women create history this season.
Miegel left quite the legacy at the Goldfields Giants firstly as a player where he played 166 games between 1992 and 1997.
While he didn’t get to achieve the ultimate in the SBL as a player, he was a key contributor on teams that made the finals every year he played after his rookie season including a grand final appearance in 1995.
His legacy as a player was cemented when he was named in the Giants’ 20-year anniversary team.
Miegel moved straight into a role as assistant coach under Barry Lawson following that before taking over as head coach in 1999. He remained in the role for two years including a return to the quarter finals in 2000 before life brought him closer to Perth.
Initially that led to a break from coaching basketball for a number of years but he began to get involved again at WABL level with the Mandurah Magic under-16 and 18 girls’ teams before helping as assistant coach to the Magic’s SBL men’s team between 2009 and 2012.
Then when the role as Magic women’s coach became available at the end of 2013, Miegel felt the time was right to get back into the head coaching chair and he has remained ever since.
He always felt that the Magic had the makings of a successful team despite having won seven games combined the previous two seasons.
The last three seasons that has seen them eliminated by grand finalists Lakeside in 2014, champions Rockingham in 2015 and semi finalists Perry Lakes last year, but they weren’t too far off being genuine contenders.
This year with the additions of Nici Gilday and Carly Boag to a team still including Casey Mihovilovich, Bree Klasztorny, Rachel Halleen, Kelly Bailey, Emma Klasztorny, Rachel Pettit, Kasey Miegel and Morgan Ballantyne they have become a real title threat.
They went blow for blow with the Lady Hawks over top spot for much of the regular season before finishing in second spot and cruising by the Perth Redbacks in the quarter finals and then winning Game 1 of the semi finals against the Lakeside Lightning at home last Saturday night.
That leaves the Magic one win from the grand final with Game 2 at Lakeside Recreation Centre on Friday night and if required the decider back at Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre Saturday night.
Miegel always felt that this season could be the one where things all come together for the Magic.
Now he is one win away from taking part in the second SBL grand final of his career having been involved as a player, assistant coach and head coach for 17 years with Mandurah still chasing a first championship in what would be a fifth grand final appearance since 2002.
“I just thought it was a really good opportunity to be honest. When I looked at the core group of girls that were there, I just thought it was something that could be built upon,” Miegel said.
“The club has backed me in every minute that I’ve been coaching so I’ve been lucky that I’ve had their support and I think as I’ve gone on I have learned by some mistakes and learned how to build a team and teaching the younger players.
“Now by adding Nici and Carly this year I always thought we could go a bit further this year and then with the news there’d be no Sami Whitcomb to contend with I thought so even more.”
Despite the sizeable gap in between his head coaching stint with the Giants and then taking over the Magic women, Miegel always did hope to get another chance in the SBL at some stage.
Originally it was because of work that he left Kalgoorlie and moved to Mandurah, and he does see plenty of differences in the jobs he has had with the two clubs and not just because one was coaching men and the other women.
“It was because of employment that we moved. I had about eight years almost out of the game in terms of coaching after I finished at Kalgoorlie and then I started coaching some WABL teams and that got my passion back for it,” he said.
“I helped the men’s team out for three years as an assistant coach before this job came up. I applied for it and got it and have enjoyed it ever since. I did want to be a head coach again one day.
“The coaching experience in Kalgoorlie was quite different and I think we’d lost five or six players from the previous year and basically went with a real young group of guys.
“It was a bit of a rebuilding phase and the club was comfortable with not having immediate success where with this Mandurah team I’ve felt we could be there or there abouts straight away. That’s the biggest difference in the two roles.”
Miegel first thought about the prospect of coaching in the Women’s SBL when he was coaching the Magic’s underage girls’ teams and he is glad that he has now thrown himself into the role the past four seasons.
“I really think the girls are well structured and you can pour a lot of work into them and they aren’t afraid of that hard work,” Miegel said.
“I have found that they work as hard as the men, if not harder so in that way I think the girls with their structure and work ethic is something I’ve enjoyed seeing and working with.”
The other bonus of coaching the Magic women’s team for Miegel has been that he’s been able to see the continued development of his daughter Kasey who is now a valuable member of his rotation despite still very much being in her development stages.
And now his son Chad has begun getting chances at SBL with the Magic men too making sure he has plenty of reasons to remain involved in Mandurah basketball moving forward.
“It’s been really good coaching her. You always question yourself more than anything about whether you are being too hard or too easy on her because she’s your daughter, but she’s doing her role well and she has a bit of potential there. She has been quite easy to coach,” he said.
“Chad has just jumped into the squad too late in this season and he’s only 17. He has a really good teacher in Aaron and he got to play a few minutes there late in the year and he has done quite well in the under-18 competitions.
“He is really passionate about his basketball and is doing a lot of work in the gym to help his game and strengthen his body up. I look at him and he has a really good work ethic so good luck to him.”
While Miegel never forced basketball on his kids and never went too far in talking up his own playing achievements to them, getting to share the sport together has without question helped their bonds remain strong.
“I guess they got dragged along to stadiums when they were younger and were handed a ball and started to learn the game from there. It probably started as a really good babysitting tool more than anything,” Miegel said.
“The only time I bring up what I achieved is when we are shooting around and I make sure I still win those, but generally these days they are just stationery shooting contests and none one-on-one games.
“But I don’t talk too much about my career and I never put pressure on them to play basketball. They just found out that they enjoyed the game themselves and play it because they have a passion for it.”