A 1962 graduate of Rockhurst College in Kansas City, Missouri, Norm Majors was drafted by the Chicago Packers (later the Chicago Bulls) but, after much deliberation, relinquished his draft selection to take on a full-time position coaching at Kansas University. This opportunity enabled him to be selected in the John F. Kennedy Peace Corps Program as part of an elite coaching team to travel to Southeast Asia. It was during this time, whilst serving in the Philippines, that Norm first came to WA in 1965 to coach the WA state team for the then WABF (now BWA) on a short term contract.
He returned to the US soon after the Men’s National Championships. There, Norm was an assistant coach to Joe Brehmer, his former Rockhurst coach, at the University of St Louis. Fortunately for us, Norm had married WA basketball player and junior boys’ coach, Shirley Stump. When they returned to Perth in late 1968 to start a business, Ed Rogers and Peter Simper persuaded Norm to take the unpaid job of Perth’s A grade Men’s coach. This was a coup for our club as Norm was an outstanding coach and Perth had a batch of fifteen raw but talented young men with whom Norm could work. Many of those players would sit and watch in awe at the smooth plays that Norm could generate in the games he played with the Perth Duffers teams in those days. It was easy to see why Norm had such a great college career and why he was an NBA draft pick.
In his early years with the PBA, Norm was on the committee and also assisted at junior development clinics. He was often involved in one to one coaching clinics with potential A Grade players who were coming through the PBA junior ranks.
Norm coached the 1969 team to the preliminary final of the A Grade competition. In 1970 Norm’s team won the Grand Final and as a result, went to the national club championships in Adelaide. Unfortunately, business commitments prevented Norm from touring with the team but he arranged for his good friend and previous coach, Joe Brehmer to step in for that tour and the 1971 season. Norm again led Perth to success in 1973 but lost the Grand Final in 1976 by one point. There were other hard-won successes. In 1997 and 1998 Norm coached the men’s A Grade team once again, winning the SBL GF in 1997.
Norm expected players to train three times per week and to give their absolute commitment; which the vast majority of his squads did without hesitation; even training from 7pm to 10pm on Sunday nights!
He is arguably the greatest coach to have served the PBA, a coach who, in his time set a standard for all PBA senior and junior coaches to follow and who revolutionised coaching not only at Perth but in WA. Norm Majors was made a life member of Perth Basketball Association in 1978.