Plymouth Raiders have released head coach Johnny White, an inquest by the BBC has revealed.
BBC Spotlight claims that White’s CV from Australia contained inaccurate info for visa purposes from his time at the Melbourne Tigers. The club hired White on a recommendation from Raiders assistant coach and fellow Australian Daryl Corletto.
The doubts over the authenticity of White’s coaching background began by an independently run British basketball fans forum, Whatsbev when he was announced by the Devon outfit in July 2016. Users on the forum struggled to find any information on White’s past accomplishments and voiced their doubts on the forum.
The BBC report, which was televised on Thursday evening to viewers in the South West of England mentioned that Plymouth hired White on Corletto’s recommendation without researching who they had hired. White, who arrived in Plymouth in 2015 to be Corletto’s mentor while he was at the helm accepted the head coach role in July of last year.
White claimed to be an assistant coach of Australian league side the Melbourne Tigers, and that was highlighted on the Raiders’ official website. But it turns out that he was only with the team in a volunteer capacity and was certainly not employed full-time by the Tigers.
As an Australian coming to the UK, to be accepted for a working visa as a head coach of a sporting club, you must give evidence to the Sports Governing Body that you have been employed in a coaching capacity, professionally for at least two years.
The Raiders finished ninth this season in the British Basketball League despite having one of the deepest squads in the BBL. And like last season, they constantly chopped and changed the team with multiple player exits leading to the Devon outfit having no chemistry in the final stretch of the campaign, where they only won two of their last 14 league games.
Plymouth however did reach the BBL Trophy final in March, but they were convincingly beaten by the Leicester Riders.
If the story is a reality, it will severely damage the credibility of a once proud and welcoming professional basketball club, that is rich in tradition, beginning in 1983 as a National League side before jumping to the BBL in 2004 and winning the BBL Trophy, two years later to a side that has failed to reach the Playoffs in the last four seasons and has its reputation in tatters.
Plymouth Raiders released a statement, Friday, saying they followed all necessary guidelines given to them by Basketball England and completed extensive background checks on White including a letter from the Chief Executive of the Melbourne Tigers, which the club says that “that he was employed in an Assistant Coach role with the club last summer.”
Source: BBC Spotlight programme