PRESTON - Myerscough Basketball Academy today announced that Academy coach Mike Bernard has been appointed head coach of the Girls team.
"It is a really positive step for Mike and one that the girls will greatly benefit from," said Programme Director Neal Hopkins. "We have been able to establish some great foundations with the girls programme and Mike now has the chance to push it to a new level."
Bernard, 39, will be entering his third season at Myerscough in 2018-19, having previously coached the Under-18 and Division 4 teams. He was also part of the Elite Academy Basketball League and Division 3 team's coaching staff last year.
"It's great knowing that Neal had the confidence in me to take over the girls programme -- I think he's seen how much of an impact I've had with some of the girls over the past two years and he knows I have a vast knowledge of how to play and coach the sport," said Bernard. "I'm up for the challenge and I'm pleased that I've been given the opportunity.
"My goals are to develop and to give the girls the ability to walk away at the end of the year knowing they've learnt more about the game and understand offensive and defensive strategies, as well as build a mental toughness to play at a higher level."
Bernard's first experience in charge of the Girls team in-game came at the inaugural Maggie Forber Invitation Tournament in Manchester, which culminated in a second place finish. Myerscough finished the event with a 3-1 record overall.
"It was a good experience for me to get to know some of the girls that will be coming back. The tournament opened my eyes to being able to understand what level they're at and what we can work on for the future."
Bernard is a decorated professional, whose career spanned more than a decade with stops at 12 different clubs across Europe. He played for the likes of Panionios (Greece), Pallacanestro Cantù (Italy), EWE Oldenburg (Germany), Teramo Basket (Italy), Basket Napoli (Italy), Crabs Rimini (Italy), and Levice (Slovakia).
Prior to starting his professional career in 2002, Bernard attended the University of Southern Florida where he played under Seth Greenberg (Long Beach State and Virginia Tech). He spent two years at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas after learning his trade as a junior with the Manchester Giants from 1994-98.
The Myerscough Girls Programme is entering its third year where it will field a team in the Women's National Basketball League Division 2 for the first time. It will also compete in the restructured Women's Elite Academy Basketball League for a third season.
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