21/02/2024

Dean Vickerman. (Image: Melbourne United)

Melbourne United coach Dean Vickerman further solidified himself as one of the greatest NBL coaches with his 200th win on Saturday night.

When Dean Vickerman set out on his basketball coaching journey back in 1997, he wouldn’t of ever in his wildest dreams predicted the heights he would reach.

While in his mid 20s and after a short stint playing for the Melbourne Tigers, Vickerman made the decision to take up coaching, embarking on his journey with the North Melbourne Giants over 27 years ago.

Saturday night’s Throwdown marked the first time in over a month that Melbourne United were in front of their strong home fans once again at John Cain Arena.

A commanding victory would follow with the home team running out 99-83 winners against a severely undermanned South East Melbourne Phoenix.

While the win solidified United’s place at the top of the table approaching the playoffs, it also brought about a significant milestone in the form of Vickerman’s 200th NBL win as head coach.

After serving as an assistant coach for almost 10 years with the clubs of the Melbourne Tigers (2004-2006), Singapore Slingers (2006-2007), and the New Zealand Breakers (2007-2013), Vickerman then joined the head coaching ranks with the Breakers ahead of the 2013/14 NBL season.

Whenever the 52-year-old is to hang up the whiteboard, he will undoubtedly go down as one of the greatest coaches in the NBL’s long-serving history.

He currently sits at number four on the all-time leaderboard for championships won as a coach, only behind Brian Goorjian with six, Trevor Gleeson with five and Brian Kerle with four championships.

The veteran coach was full of pride upon reaching the milestone and for what he has achieved in his coaching career so far.

“To get 200 wins in my 10th season, [I’m] proud of what I’ve achieved in this first 10 years and I’ve been able to coach some fantastic players. I’ve been with a couple of different clubs and enjoyed every minute of it and still enjoying it as much as I ever did.”

He also played a major part in four NBL championships as an assistant, one with the Melbourne Tigers in 2006, as well as a three-peat with the Breakers from 2011-13.

Vickerman is firming for another piece of silverware with United sitting on top for the whole season under his leadership, being only games out from the playoffs.

He signed a new contract before NBL24, tying the masterful coach to the club until at least the end of the 2027/28 season.

Shea Ili has played under Vickerman for many of those 200 victories, praising his coach for the way he leads and the effect he has on his players.

“He was my first coach in the league and [I’m] grateful for every opportunity that he’s given me,” Ili said.

“From top to bottom, he keeps everyone accountable and on their toes. It doesn’t matter if you’re the top guy or the bottom guy, he treats everyone the same.

“As someone that coaches the way, you know you want to go out there and fight for him every game.”

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