TJ WALKER has parted company with BiG Storage Cheshire Jets after less than a season in charge.
The American’s surprise departure was confirmed on Saturday, just 24 hours before Jets took on Leicester Riders in a win-or-bust BBL Trophy group game.
Walker, who left Newcastle Eagles last summer to take over as player/head coach at the Northgate, has had his Jets contract terminated by mutual consent following a meeting with the club’s directors. The decision to part company came when both parties discovered they had differing views over how to take the club forward.
Jets director Peter Hawkins said: “The club has ambitious long-term plans both in relation to the community programme we initiated this year and to the development of the club in basketball terms, and it became apparent during our meeting with TJ that our visions no longer coincided. After considerable discussion, all parties agreed that their interests would be best served if the contract between the club and TJ was terminated.”
Hawkins added: “We would like to place on record our sincere thanks to TJ for his valuable contribution to the setting up of what has effectively been a brand new basketball club this season, and to pay tribute to his input to the organisation of our new Hoops4Health community programme which has been such a major success in schools in the city, the county and out into North Wales. We wish TJ all the best for the next stage of his career.”
Walker said: “I would like to thank the Jets for the chance to coach in the BBL and wish the players and team all the best for the rest of the season.”
The timing of Walker’s departure will have surprised many Jets fans as the team is currently enjoying an excellent run of form. Following a run of eight defeats in nine matches at the end of last year, Jets have started 2008 with a run of five successive victories – including Sunday’s BBL Trophy success over Leicester which set up a semi-final appearance against Newcastle this Saturday.
Jets are now in the hunt for a successor to Walker.
Director of basketball Paul Smith said: “We will finalise our coaching structure for the rest of the season during the course of this week in consultation with the players.”