James Brice is aiming to make a big impact after being appointed to the role of full-time general manager of Cheshire Phoenix.
Brice, 23, has been tasked with helping the Phoenix continue to grow in the community, attract new fans and get new sponsors on board as they look to make positive steps forward with the move to their new 1,400-seater Cheshire Oaks Arena at Ellesmere Port Sports Village in September.
Brice was named as part of the new-look coaching set-up at the Nix in the wake of American John Coffino’s departure earlier this month, a team that also includes head coach John Lavery, chairman Mike Burton and club captain David Aliu.
But Brice, a long-time Nix supporter, isn’t concerned about having so many plates to spin for the British Basketball League (BBL) club, with the University of Worcester sports business management graduate relishing the chance to help his beloved club flourish as one of the dozen elite professional sides in the country.
“It is a big jump up from what I have done previously and it will be a big challenge for me but I can’t wait to get started,” said Brice, whose basketball CV includes spells as academy manager at Hereford Sixth Form College and coaching stints with the Worcester Wolves Academy and the University of Worcester.
“It is a bit of a dream come true for me to be honest. I’ve always supported the club and now have the chance to make a big difference.
“I’ll be making sure the club is marketed correctly, looking for sponsorship opportunites and ensuring that the arena is full on a Sunday.
“Being so close to somewhere like Cheshire Oaks presents a fantastic opportunity for us as we can get families involved. There is so much potential with regards to linking up with businesses there too that I’ll be looking to build upon.
“In addition to that I’ll be helping with the coaching of the first team, helping to deliver our Hoops 4 Health programmes to schools and taking the coaching clinics on match days.
“As well as that I’ll be liasing with the BBL and its member clubs to ensure that we share best practice with each other.”
Brice, who confirmed Aliu would return to captain the side next season, says that the club are not simply aiming to make up the numbers and are aiming to be a competitive force in the BBL next season.
“We have already identified potential new recruits we would like to bring in and I know John (Lavery) will be working hard on that side of things in the off season,” added Brice, who takes up his role in earnest in August.
“David Aliu will be returning next year as our club captain and leader once again. He is a tremedous role model and an asset on the floor for us.
“We’ll be in the best possible shape to compete when the new season comes around in September.”
Lavery will be operating on a bigger budget than he had when last in the Nix hotseat in the 2013-2014 season, when the club finished fifth and made the end-of-season play-offs, where they exited at the quarter-final stage.