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Awards for basketball ‘legend’

A WOMAN described as a “legend” in the Mornington Peninsula basketball community has been awarded The Jack Carter Memorial Award – Sports Administrator of the Year, for Basketball Victoria.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Mornington District Basketball Association general manager Samantha Browne had to accept the state-wide award in constrained circumstances.

Instead of basking in the limelight at a glamorous event at Crown before 2000-plus attendees from hundreds of basketball associations, she had to settle for a Zoom video call presentation by association president Antony Hirst joined by committee members in their own homes.

“Our association in the past few years has thrived due to Sam’s hard work, ability and resilience,” Mr Hirst said.

“In these COVID-19 times our association is well placed in a sustainable position for long-term viability which would not have been achieved without her input and leadership.”

Basketball Victoria was equally impressed: “Samantha’s work with Mornington has increased domestic participation numbers by over 700 and implemented player pathways and skill programs. Her work has also introduced policies and procedures to manage operations, streamlined internal processes and enhanced the member experience.”

Ms Browne also received a Change Our Game Scholarship through Sport Victoria. The program helps women access professional learning and development opportunities to enhance skills in sport and recreation leadership and management.

Michelle Bolitho, who is on the committee of management of the Mornington and District Basketball Association, said: “Samantha is one of the few women in Victoria in a general manager role and is paving the way and leaning into the unique challenges that girls in sport face, seeking solutions and innovation to improve attraction and retention – not just for basketball, but for all sports.

“Sam is such a role model in our basketball community. She is the reason we are thriving and gaining recognition from the big city associations and we are just so super proud of her.”

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 21 July 2020

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