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Head Coach Sam Mackinnon Signs With The Taranaki Airs

The Taranaki Airs have today appointed three time Olympian and former Australian NBL star Sam MacKinnon as Head Coach of the franchise of the club for the next two years as the Airs enter an exciting new era on and off-court.

McKinnon a two-time NBL champion and national team captain is excited to be joining forces with the Airs, the experienced campaigner committed to creating a strong NZNBL program, while working to provide opportunities for the regions aspiring professional male and female players.


"I'm really excited to be joining Taranaki as Head Coach for the next 2 years. I see this as a great opportunity to work with new ownership while respecting the club's history and working with local players, coaches, and partners with a common goal of building the Airs into a destination club."


One of MacKinnon's primary immediate objectives is to work to retain key existing talent whilst actively working to recruit a number of exciting and proven new roster talent to ensure the list is ready to compete at the highest level ahead of the new season.


“Taranaki basketball fans are some of the most passionate in the country and we are certainly committed to ensuring we produce a list with a mix of exciting new and established players who will not only represent the region proudly, but also provide an opportunity for this proud club to perform and achieve at all levels.”


Currently working as assistant coach with the Southeast Melbourne Phoenix in the Australian NBL, MacKinnon’s appointment follows the recent acquisition of the Airs by Australian based company Media8 Sport & former NBA star Christ Anstey.

Media8 Managing Director Brett McCallum saying the appointment of the new coach represents the commencement of an exciting new era for basketball in Taranaki.


“As an organisation we are extremely pleased to have secured the services of Sam MacKinnon who brings a wealth of NBL and international experience to the team. Sam is a winner at all levels and his skills, knowledge and mindset will certainly assist as we look to position Taranaki as a New Zealand basketball powerhouse.”


Sam will commence his position on a full-time basis at the completion of the Australian NBL season.

Sam Mackinnon:

Playing career: 1994 – 2010

Position: Shooting guard / Small forward

Career Highlights: 2 x NBL Champion 1996, 2007, NBL Grand final MVP 2007, NBL most valuable player 2007, 3 x All NBL first team, 2000, 2004, 2007, NBL best defensive player 2007, NBL Rookie of the year, 1994, 2 x Gaze Medal winner, 2006, 2007.

Olympics: 1996, 2000, 2004 Olympic Games.

Commonwealth Games: Gold Medal 2006.

Clubs: Southeast Melbourne Magic, Townsville Crocs, West Sydney Razorbacks

Brisbane Bullets, Basket Rimini Crabs, Melbourne Tigers.


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