Life Member Profile – Ian Sharp

Ian Sharp began his basketball career playing in the Church of Christ junior competition. He was a foundation member of our club when he began playing basketball for Perth in 1964, at the age of 15, while a student at Applecross SHS. His U16 coach was another of our foundation members, A Grade squad member, Laurie Heil. In 1965-6 his U18 coach was Peter Simper. It was in this team that Ian met Stuart Mackay and Rob Rowbottam and the three became lifelong friends through basketball and the PBA. Ian represented Western Australia as a junior player in both of his two years as an U18 player.

Ian was still playing U18 basketball when he began playing in the A Grade team at the age of 17 in 1966. He played at this level through to 1978. Ian also represented Western Australia at a senior level in pre-NBL days. In 1968 he, along with fellow PBA members, Bill Knox and Rob Rowbottam, represented WA in a tour of New Zealand and then at the National Titles in Sydney. Ian represented WA on many occasions and developed a reputation as a fearless competitor with a never say die attitude.

In 1969 Ian was awarded the A Grade MVP Trophy for the Perth A Grade team and in 1970 and 1973 he was the teams Free Throw % Trophy winner.

In 1970 Ian was a member of the Perth A Grade team at the National Club Championships in Adelaide under coach Joe Brehmer. In that team were fellow long term members of the PBA in Bill Knox and Rob Rowbottam, along with Rod Clinch, who had been recruited by the club soon after the New Zealand/Sydney trip. Ian also played in the Perth team at the 1973 National Club Championships, coached by Norm Majors, in Adelaide.

With the formation of District basketball and the new Stirling Senators Basketball Club, the PBA made the decision to move its focus on junior development away from the Tuart Hill/Nollamara/Mirrabooka area to ‘south of the river’. In 1972 Ian was the driving force behind the establishment of a formal Junior Committee to oversee the recruitment of junior players for the PBA in our new district after the loss of most of our junior players with the formation of the Stirling Senators. He chaired the Junior Committee in 1971 and 1972. Ian then coached Perth junior teams through to 1978. In 1985, Ian made his first ‘come-back’ to coaching junior basketball when he coached the Perth U14 boys’ team in the Australian Club Championships at the new Willetton Basketball Stadium, with Ian Nordahl as the team manager. In 1987 and 1988 Ian was asked to coach the U16 Division 1 boys’ team. This team had a number of potentially talented basketballers including Tim Nordahl and Jamie Baker. Tim went on to have a successful college basketball career in the USA and Jamie a long-term career with the Perth Redbacks and was also a Wildcat squad member for several seasons.

In 1979, Ian was Vice President of the PBA. From 1979 to 1984 and then in 1986, he was senior club coach of the Men’s A-grade team. His teams made the finals in each year he coached, including an unsuccessful tilt at the Grand Final in 1984. Ian made a come-back to coaching senior basketball in 1990 and 1991 when asked by Don Sheppard to be his assistant coach.

From 1990 through to 2007, Ian coached Redbacks U16 and U18 teams with great distinction providing development opportunities for many young and talented Perth Redback players.

In 1998, Ian was recorded on the Roll of Honour and awarded the Medal of Honour for his lengthy ongoing service to the Perth Basketball Association.

He was awarded Life Membership of the Perth Redbacks in 1978.

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