The Perth Wildcats have appointed John Rillie as their new head coach after Scott Morrison’s departure in what has been a tumultuous time for the NBL’s most successful club.
- John Rillie won an NBL title in 1998, and the league scoring award in 2003
- Rillie, 50, was most recently an assistant at UC Santa Barbara
- The Wildcats are coming off their worst season in 35 years
Canadian-born Morrison resigned last month, leaving the club after just one season in charge, during which Perth missed the National Basketball League playoffs for the first time in 35 years.
Queensland-born Rillie has been coaching in the US college basketball system since 2011 after finishing a successful 16-season NBL career.
Rillie was 23 when he made his league debut in 1995 with the Brisbane Bullets, where he won the NBL’s Rookie of the Year award.
He went on to play with the Adelaide 36ers, the now-defunct West Sydney Razorbacks and the Townsville Crocodiles, and also played for the Australian Boomers national team, including at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
He won an NBL title with the 36ers in 1998 and led the league in scoring average in 2003.
The appointment of the ex-Boomers guard means the Wildcats will have had three coaches in the space of just 12 months, with Morrison’s tenure preceded by the departure of Trevor Gleeson to pursue a career in the NBA.
In the space of the last two months, the Wildcats have lost their commercial general manager, their financial controller and their head coach, and have sacked their CEO.
Long-time chief executive Troy Georgiu was dismissed under what new owner Sports Entertainment Network called a desire for “further integrating and aligning the organisation” within the business.
Perth has won five of the last nine NBL championships and a record 10 titles overall, with the most recent coming in the 2020 season.