National Basketball League Coach
Adelaide coach Phil Smyth has proven that he is every bit as successful as a coach as he was as a player. Smyth, who enjoyed a stellar 14-season career in the National Basketball League, led Adelaide to back-to-back NBL championships in his first two seasons as head coach.
Smyth’s laid back coaching proved successful in two of the most fiercely fought seasons in NBL history, 1998 & 1999. The Adelaide native, who made his NBL debut with St Kilda in 1982, has built an impressive 47-20 record in the hot seat and is in position to be the first coach in NBL history to complete a hat trick of championship victories. His 1998 and 1999 36ers’ squads equalled an NBL record winning nine consecutive play off games and in all Smyth boasts a 10-1 play off mark. In 1999/2000 the 36ers were minor Premiers. In addition to the team success that Adelaide has enjoyed under him, Phil has claimed five NBL Coach of the Month honours and has finished second and third in Coach of the Year balloting.
Phil was an outstanding player in both the NBL and international competition throughout his playing days. Known as “The General”, Smyth played 356 NBL games and was instrumental in leading the Canberra Cannons to three titles in the 1980’s. He was a seven time All-NBL selection and was twice voted NBL best defensive player. Phil led the league in assists once and in steals four times. Smyth was named as Grand Final MVP following the Cannons’ 1988 championship victory over the North Melbourne Giants in the Glasshouse. In 1998 he was one of the players named to the NBL’s Season Team.
Smyth wore the green and gold of Australia at four Olympic Games and five World Championships. He was captain of the Boomers for the semi finals of the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Overall he represented his country 345 times at senior level, a record for the national team.
Phil Smyth was inducted into the NBL Hall of Fame as a player in 2000, and his combined six championships (three as a player, and three as coach of the 36ers) is more than any other player or coach in the league’s history.