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NBL Icon Sam Mackinnon Takes the Helm as Taranaki Airs' Head Coach

Updated: Feb 13


Sam Mackinnon Signs Head Coach Taranaki Airs 2024

Today marks a momentous occasion for the Taranaki Airs as we proudly announce the appointment of Sam Mackinnon, a three-time Olympian and former Australian NBL star, as our Head Coach for the next two years. This move signals the beginning of an exciting era for our team, both on and off the court.


Sam, a two-time NBL champion and former national team captain, is equally thrilled to join forces with the Airs. He shares our commitment to building a strong NZNBL program and providing opportunities for aspiring professional male and female players in our region.


"I'm really excited to be joining Taranaki as Head Coach for the next 2 years. I see this as a great opportunity to work with new ownership while respecting the club's history and working with local players, coaches, and partners with a common goal of building the Airs into a destination club." - Sam Mackinnon


One of our immediate goals under Sam's leadership is to retain our key existing talent while actively seeking out exciting and proven new players to ensure our roster is competitive for the upcoming season.


“Taranaki basketball fans are some of the most passionate in the country and we are certainly committed to ensuring we produce a list with a mix of exciting new and established players who will not only represent the region proudly, but also provide an opportunity for this proud club to perform and achieve at all levels.”


Sam Mackinnon, currently serving as an assistant coach with the Southeast Melbourne Phoenix in the Australian NBL, follows the recent acquisition of the Airs by the Australian-based company Media8 Sport and former NBA star Christ Anstey.


Brett McCallum, Managing Director of Media8, expresses the organisation's pleasure in securing Sam Mackinnon, recognizing his wealth of NBL and international experience.


“As an organisation we are extremely pleased to have secured the services of Sam Mackinnon who brings a wealth of NBL and international experience to the team. Sam is a winner at all levels and his skills, knowledge and mindset will certainly assist as we look to position Taranaki as a New Zealand basketball powerhouse.” - Brett McCallum


Sam is set to assume his role on a full-time basis after the conclusion of the Australian NBL season, and we can't wait to embark on this new journey together. Here's to the future success and growth of the Taranaki Airs!


Sam Mackinnon:


Playing career: 1994 – 2010


Position: Shooting guard / Small forward


Career Highlights: 2 x NBL Champion 1996, 2007, NBL Grand final MVP 2007, NBL most valuable player 2007, 3 x All NBL first team, 2000, 2004, 2007, NBL best defensive player 2007, NBL Rookie of the year, 1994, 2 x Gaze Medal winner, 2006, 2007.


Olympics: 1996, 2000, 2004 Olympic Games.


Commonwealth Games: Gold Medal 2006.


Clubs: Southeast Melbourne Magic, Townsville Crocs, West Sydney Razorbacks

Brisbane Bullets, Basket Rimini Crabs, Melbourne Tigers.






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