Zico Coronel Returns to the Wellington Saints as Head Coach for the 2024 Season
Wellington, New Zealand — The Wellington Saints proudly announce the return of Zico Coronel as the head coach for the upcoming 2024 season. Coronel, a six-time NZ NBL champion and the 2021 NZ NBL Coach of the Year, brings a wealth of experience and a legacy of success to the Saints.
Since his triumphant season with the Saints in 2021, Coronel has been making waves both nationally and internationally. In the 2021/22 and 2022/23 seasons, he served as the Associate Head Coach of the Shimane Susanoo Magic in Japan's highest division, achieving historic milestones for the franchise. Coronel's strategic brilliance contributed to the Magic's first-ever playoff appearance and record-breaking win totals in both seasons.
Beyond his club successes, Coronel has been a key figure in New Zealand's basketball landscape. As the Assistant Coach for the New Zealand Men's National Team, he played an integral role in the team's achievements during the FIBA World Cup qualifying process, the 2023 FIBA World Cup, and the 2022 FIBA Asia Cup, where the Tall Blacks secured a historic Bronze medal.
Coronel expressed his honour in returning to the Wellington Saints, stating, "It's an honour to be selected by a traditionally successful club like the Wellington Saints and the Mills Family."
His coaching philosophy centres on building a collective environment that fosters excellence in every aspect of the game, from the smallest details to the grandest moments.
Saints GM Jordan had this to say"I am thrilled to announce the appointment of Zico Coronel for the Wellington Saints. Bringing back a championship winner is not just about reliving past glory, but it's a testament to our commitment to excellence. Zico is not only a proven winner but embodies the values of hard work, determination, and possesses a brilliant basketball mind. His dedication to player development aligns perfectly with our vision, and I am confident that under his leadership, we will not only continue to strive for excellence but also cultivate a culture of success. Welcome back to the Saints family Zico"
Additionally, I am pleased to announce that our former head coach, Troy McLean will remain an integral part of the Wellington Saints family. Troy has accepted the lead assistant coaching role, showcasing his commitment to our organization and his desire to contribute to our continued success. It's a testament to his character and dedication that he's not only embracing this transition but is genuinely excited about the opportunity to learn and grow as a coach under the leadership of our new head coach. Troy's wealth of experience will undoubtedly be an invaluable asset as we embark on this new chapter.
Troy is excited to increase his learnings under Coach Zico Coronell.
“I have had the privilege and honour to work with Zico as both a player and coach on multiple Championship winning teams. Zico knows.
His values, work ethic, enthusiasm and passion for the game have been exemplary. He has been an inspiration for me as a person of high character, coaching disrupter, mindful leader, and ruthless strategist.
I am elated to have the opportunity to extend my learning and growth alongside Zico for the 2024 season.
I have found great reward, meaning, and learnings in my coaching experiences over the last 2 years.
Very grateful to Jordan Mills, Zico, and the Saints family, for the opportunity to apply my knowledge, and learnings, as we run it back stronger in 2024.”
The impact of Coronel's player development prowess is evident in the success stories of Saints players. Dion Prewster achieved MVP in 2021, Taane Samuel earned All-Star 5 recognition, and Tohi Smith-Milner secured ANBL contracts, marking a significant leap in their careers. This success continued in Japan, where two separate players achieved career-first All-Star 5 status in just two years.
Coronel's coaching journey is marked by consistency and excellence. He boasts an impressive record, with only one season below .500 across five clubs from 2010 to 2023. His offensive system development and strategic acumen have consistently placed his teams at the top of the rankings.
As the Saints embark on the 2024 season, fans can expect a brand of basketball that reflects Coronel's commitment to excellence and his proven track record of success. The Wellington Saints look forward to building on their legacy with Zico Coronel leading the charge.
Welcome back, Coach Coronel!"