Hurst to head Tall Ferns

Adelaide Lightning coach announced as the interim coach of the New Zealand Tall Ferns for a tour to Japan.

 Nat Hurst is backing herself, like she has so often through the early years of a blossoming coaching career.

The Adelaide Lightning coach was this week announced as the interim coach of the New Zealand Tall Ferns for a tour to Japan in July and a FIBA 2026 World Cup pre-qualifying series in Mexico in August.

The appointment is deserved recognition of Hurst’s obvious talent and a chance to reflect on her rise through the coaching ranks following her retirement in 2019-20.

The 41-year-old played in seven championships with Canberra during a 290-game WNBL career which spanned 13 seasons. She also represented the Australian Opals and played extensively overseas before turning her focus to coaching.

After finishing her playing career with the Lighting, she served as an assistant coach for two seasons before earning the head coach position in 2022.

She’d also led her own team, Canberra in NBL1’s East competition, amid a pandemic-interrupted 2020 and 2021.

“I think coaching has always been in the back of mind and I think there’s elements of it as a point guard. I had those leadership skills as a point guard and although that doesn’t always translate to coaching, I feel like I’m continually learning how to translate those skills into my coaching,” Hurst told She Hoops.

“I’ve always loved that aspect and I was doing individual coaching towards the end of my career and loved that and now I love the team stuff.

“I have one of the best jobs ever, I feel super lucky I get to work with the athletes that I do and now that’s expanding to the New Zealand girls as well.

“I’m honoured and lucky to be given this opportunity and I just want to see where I can go with it.”

Building relationships with players and seeking, respecting and using their feedback has been an area where Hurst has grown and gained confidence.

“The girls in Adelaide, especially this last WNBL season, have given me the confidence to know I’m heading in the right direction. I got some fantastic feedback and obviously there’s a lot of stuff I still need to work on but when it’s the likes of Steph Talbot giving that you know you’re working in the right direction,” Hurst explains.

“That gave me the confidence to feel like I can take that relationship piece, from Adelaide, to the New Zealand program. Guy Molloy (former Tall Ferns coach) has left the program in such a great spot in terms of x’s and o’s so I just want to go in now and form those relationships and fill those missing gaps.

“I think this past WNBL season, the way we (Adelaide) continued to fight as a group, work and end the season has really given me a confidence boost

“I want to keep improving and I feel like I can come in with this small opportunity and make an impact and hopefully a smaller opportunity turns into a bigger one.”

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