After an electric end to the season, Zico Coronel has signed with former Championship Coach, Paul Henare as Lead Assistant at Shimane Susanoo Magic in Japan.
After an impressive year leading the Saints to their 12th Championship, securing Head Coach of the year and beating multiple records in the clubs 39 year history, the announcement of this signing is a fitting way to end the season.
"I'm really excited that Zico will be joining me in Shimane this season" says Henare. "Zico has put in a huge body of work already in his coaching career. Over the last couple of years I've been watching him closely and I've seen how affective he has been to get the best out of his teams and players."
"His hard worked was capped off with a well earned Championship with the Saints - a very fitting achievement for a guy whose work ethic is unmatched."
The move will see Coronel head to Japan early August pending his Visa application is processed, with their regular season commencing October running through to May, with Finals in June.
"It's an honour to be selected by a coach and person I highly respect in Head Coach Paul Henare to assist him with his hard earned new opportunity with the Shimane Susanoo Magic in the first division of Japan." he says of the opportunity.
"Shimane has great potential as a club, which has been evident this off season as we've added a number of highly touted players, both locals and an import the Saints Family will be familiar with in Nick Kay. It will also be a pleasure to work with Nick after a number of years competing against him as a formidable opponent both in New Zealand and Australia."
CEO Jordan Mills adds "We are ecstatic for Zico getting a major role as lead assistant in the top Japanese Basketball League. He has been amazing for us this year, working tirelessly to lead us to the championship."
"As a club we always want progression for players and staff, like Dion Prewster signing with Melbourne United in the ANBL, this is a huge opportunity for Zico to take the next steps in his coaching career and we wish him nothing but the best."
Coronel is no rookie to the Saints club culture and success, after seven years, six finals and four championships as an assistant coach.
"I consider it to be the highlight of my professional career to have been selected as the Head Coach of New Zealand's premier professional basketball club, the Wellington Saints, and to be entrusted by the Mills Family with it's stewardship. The Wellington the Saints mean a lot to me so therefore to navigate the club to championship number 12 in 2021 is both exhilarating and a great relief."
"With the Competitive Balance reforms enacted over the past two years and the implication that the Saints' previous 11 championships were merely the product of money, this year we proved that it was always winning know how, sacrifice and hard work that underpinned the previous successes. It was never luck or a silver spoon."
"With the previous 11 championships now validated in a way that should never have been required, I'm pleased to hand "control of the wheel" onto the next coach - should it come to pass - with the club in good health. The club's management, Jordan Mills and Tina Wieczorek, have been an absolute pleasure to work with and I look forward to seeing the Saints add number 13 in the near future."
"I appreciate Shimane entrusting me with the position and hope it all comes to fruition in terms of the visa application and immigration given the uncertainty of international travel in our world currently."
Henare adds "I'm looking forawrd to working with Zico as we both embark upon this new journey" with this also being his first season with the Susanoo Magic. "We will both be flying the metaphorical Saints flag in Japan with pride."
The Saints looks forward to following along Zico's journey and want to thank and congratulate him on all his hard work and achievements over the past few years. "We will be supporting and following along his journey closely with Pauli and look forward to seeing their success together in Japan." says Mills.