Thank you Jan Stirling AM

One of the most highly decorated women in Australian basketball finishes up in her position at BA.

Basketball Australia extends its thanks to Jan Stirling AM who finishes up in her position as Executive General Manager of High Performance. 

One of the most highly decorated women in Australian basketball, Jan has held multiple roles that have contributed to the growth of the sport.

Beginning her career as a player in her home state of South Australia, Stirling played 163 games for North Adelaide in the WNBL before first suiting up as Australian Opal at the age of 20.

She was a member of the national team that toured Colombia in 1975 for the World Championships, where Australia finished third in the classification round.

Jan is known widely as one of Australia’s most successful coaches starting her career as head coach at Adelaide Lightning when the WNBL club was founded in 1993. 

In the following 12 years, she led the Lightning to a finals appearance every season while winning Coach of the Year in her debut season. Adelaide would appear in five Grand Finals and win four Championships under Jan’s leadership to become the most dominant side of the decade.

Jan returned to the Opals in 1994 as assistant coach before taking over the reins as head coach in 2001.  She made an immediate impact at the 2002 World Championships in China, winning Australia’s second consecutive bronze medal before claiming gold at the following World Championships in 2006 in Brazil. That victory was the first gold medal for an Australian basketball team at an international tournament.

2006 also saw Australia win a gold medal at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games and was flanked by two silver medals at the 2004 Olympics and 2008 Olympics.

Following the 2008 Olympics, Stirling stepped away from coaching, leaving behind a legacy as the country’s most successful coach and was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her contribution to sport.

Jan took on the role as manager of the Australian women’s wheelchair basketball program before transitioning to her current role as Executive General Manager of High Performance.

Jan took up her role with BA six months prior to the Rio Olympics where she restructured the high-performance framework to meet the changes to FIBA’S World Cup qualification system. In 2017 with Patrick Hunt President of the World Association of Basketball Coaches (WABC), she was instrumental in navigating the unique tri-partisan collaboration between BA’s Centre of Excellence (CoE), the AIS and the NBA resulting in the Global Academy (NBAGA). The programs of CoE and NBAGA are globally respected for developing outstanding talent. Jan also established the Director HP Coaching role aligned to Talent Identification at the CoE.

Jan was committed to the Pearls and Boomerangs programs introducing training at the CoE prior to the 2019 and 2023 Virtus Global Games where both teams medalled. The Boomerangs took home a gold medal- the first in 32 years.

Jan was inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame in September 2015 only the fourth Australian at the time to receive the highest honour in basketball.

Jan’s record of achievements is long and impressive, she has left a lasting legacy on our sport and we thank her for the contribution and wish her all the very best.

Adelaide Lightning (1993-2004)
Australian Opals (assistant) (1994)
Australian Opals (2001)
Paralympics’ team
Led 12-times Adelaide Lightning Team to WNBL Finals (1993-2004)
Gold medalist Oceania Championship (1995)
Bronze medalist at Olympic Games in Atlanta (1996)
Gold medalist Oceania Championship (1997)
Bronze medalist World Championship (1998)
Silver medalist at Olympic Games in Sydney (2000)
Gold medalist Oceania Championship (2001)
Bronze medalist FIBA World Championship in China (2002)
Gold medalist Oceania Championship (2003)
2-times Olympic Games Silver medalist: in Athens (2004), in Beijing (2008)
Gold medalist Melbourne Commonwealth Games (2006)
Gold medalist FIBA World Championships in Brazil (2006)
Paralympics Silver medalist in London (2012)
First former Australian player and female to coach the Opals
First coach to lead an Australian senior team to a gold medal in FIBA World Championships
Coach consultant for Russian Basketball Federation (2008-2009)
High Performance Director of the Women’s National Wheelchair program 2011-2012
WNBL Coach of the year in 1993
Australian Sports Award for International Coach of the Year (2006)
Adelaide Lightning Inducted into South Australian Sports Hall of Fame 2010
Inducted into the Australian Basketball Hall of Fame 2013 
Inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame 2015
Australian Medal (AM) recipient for her services to women’s basketball, professional development and the community.

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