18 Feb 2009

Tall Ferns coach steps down

7:02 pm on 18 February 2009

The coach of the New Zealand women's basketball team Mike McHugh is stepping down.

McHugh's opted against seeking a reappointment to the role he inherited after the 2004 Olympics in Athens when he took over from Tom Maher who became coach of the Chinese women's side.

At last year's Olympics in Beijing, the Tall Ferns had a disappointing campaign managing just one win from four games.

McHugh guided New Zealand to a silver medal at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games and leaves the side with a world ranking of 16.

He says after 40 years coaching, 16 of which were at the top level, it's time for a break although he won't be lost to the sport altogether as he's helping prepare the Junior Tall Blacks for the under 19 world champs in July.

Basketball New Zealand' says there are 16 applicants for the Tall Ferns coaching role, including some from Europe and the United States with a short list to be compiled next week.