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    Tim Pickert.
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    Gareth Hiscock.
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    Horsham sporting identity and former mayor Gary Bird.

Horsham Basketball Association honours stalwarts with life memberships


Horsham Amateur Basketball Association has honoured seven stalwarts of the sport with ‘long overdue’ life memberships.

Basketball leaders have been celebrating the achievements of several key members on social media throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

President Jon Fitzgerald announced Tony Sleep, Nicole ‘Herb’ Lakin, Gareth Hiscock, Tim Pickert and Cam Bruce had earned life-member status at the organisation’s annual meeting in June.

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He said the committee added Gary Bird and Barry McTaggart to the prestigious list at its latest meeting. 

“Previously the rules stated life members could only be nominated at annual meetings, but we’ve changed the rule this year so they can be nominated at any meeting,” he said.

“This allows us to honour people in a more timely fashion. Gary and Barry haven’t been that well so it’s been great to be able to make sure they receive the recognition they deserve.”

Mr Fitzgerald, who took over as president earlier this year, said it was an exciting time for the association, which had not presented a life membership since 2005. 

“We’re thrilled to do it now and to announce all seven this year has been really special,” he said. 

“Unfortunately, because of COVID, the recipients have only received a congratulatory phone call, but we will be putting together some proper recognition for them when we can. 

“In the past, life members have received a pin they can wear, which is something we are looking into.”

Mr Fitzgerald said it was wonderful to see so many aspects of the sporting association represented among the recipients.

“Tim and Cam are two of our more well-known faces. Tim has played more than 300 games and Cam more than 200. They’ve both coached as well and it’s great to recognise them,” he said. 

“Tony and Herb have both done a lot of coaching and work off the court, as has Gareth – he’s actually done a lot behind the scenes that you would never know about. 

“Gary and Barry have both helped build up Horsham basketball to where it is now. 

“Barry actually coached me as a junior and Gary has done a lot for women’s basketball and players with a disability. 

“It’s great that they can finally be recognised for all they have done. All of our new life members have been wonderful assets for the association and have achieved so much on and off the court. 

“For some, the recognition is well overdue and I’m so glad we’ve been able to do it now. 

“To announce seven life members in one year is pretty special and now they’ll have their names up in the stadium for the years to come.”

New life members –

Horsham sporting identity and former mayor Gary Bird.
Gary Bird.

Gary Bird: Heavily involved in HABA throughout the 1990s as a coach and committee member. He was president in 1995, was a foundation member of Grampians region ‘players with a disability’, coached state teams for players with a disability and was the founding director of the Baby Hellcats Club in 1993. Represented Victoria Country on a state coaches selection committee, state council and was a delegate to Basketball Australia for players with a disability.

Barry McTaggart: Refereed from 1978 to 1985 and coached junior representative sides over 30 years. Twice coached Victoria Country teams in Australian Country Championships to gold medals and coached the Hornets senior team to a championship after stepping into the role mid-season.

Tony Sleep: Played for about 26 years and refereed since 1982, including at state championships. Sleep has a long record of domestic coaching, representative coaching since 2012 and coached the CBL women’s team in 2019. He is head coach of the southwest academy, was representative director from 2013-19, a board member and had roles 

including publicity and grants officer, media director and coaching director.

Nicole ‘Herb’ Lakin: Started playing baseketball for HABA in the 1980s and was a representative junior in all age groups. Played many games as a senior for Horsham Hellcats. Lakin has refereed for the association for more than 20 years and has coached domestic teams since she was a teenager. She has had more than 10 board roles, including president. 

Gareth Hiscock.
Gareth Hiscock.

Gareth Hiscock: Joined the HABA board in 2009 and has been a member most years since. Along with Sharon Fedke, Hiscock was instrumental in establishing the Horsham Lady Hornets. He was assistant coach for two seasons, including the 2014-15 premiership season. Head coach for three seasons, including the Lady Hornets’ 2015-16 premiership season. Hiscock was an academy coach and behind the scenes, has helped secure funding for a lighting upgrade and negotiate the Horsham stadium lease for a 10-year term.

Cam Bruce and Tim Pickert. Horsham Hornets, 2018 CBL North West Conference Premiers defeated Bendigo in the Grand Final.
Cam Bruce and Tim Pickert.

Tim Pickert: Played 320 games over 20 years and became the first Hornet to have his singlet retired. Highly decorated at club, CBL and Big V level. Former head coach and captain.



Cam Bruce: Played more than 200 games and highly decorated at club, Big V, and CBL level. Former head coach and captain.

See below for the full list of achievements.


Gary Bird:

1992–8 Junior squad coach
1992–0 Domestic coach
1993–8 Girls co-ordinator
1992–4 Hornets board of directors
1992–8 Chair, junior development committee
1995–8 Committee member
1995 President
1995-9 Women’s coach
1995 Level-two coach
1997 Foundation member – Grampians region, players with a disability
1997–0 Program manager – state teams for players with a disability
1997 Foundation instigator – Victorian Country teams for players with a disability
1998–0 Women’s coach state teams for players with a disability
1995-9 Wimmera-Glenelg Academy administrator
1995 Southern Cross Jamboree co-ordinator – Horsham camp
1995 Founding director – Baby Hellcats Club
1998, Basketball Australia Administrators Camp, Canberra
1998 Victorian Country Basketball State Coaches selection committee
1995–8 Victorian Country Basketball State Council
1998 –9 Victorian Country Basketball delegate for Basketball Australia players with a
Barry McTaggart
• Refereeing from 1978 to 1985-
• Coaching junior representative sides over a 30-year period
• Being a delegate for the HABA board
• Assistant coach of the Hornets senior team for three years
• Coaching Hornets senior team to a championship after stepping into the role mid-season
• Running the HABA tournament twice
• Level-two coaching accreditation
• Coaching the Victorian Country teams in the Australian Country Championships to a gold
medal in Albury and Port Macquarie
Tony Sleep
Tony started playing basketball at HABA in 1980 through to 2012, on and off. He did not play
when he lived away in Traralgon, Melbourne and Mount Gambier. He played for about 26
years and been a squad player many years ago when he was in under-18s.
Tony started refereeing when he was about 12, in 1982, and has refereed since – except
when he lived away for about eight years. He got his Level 1A in 1994. He has refereed at
state chamionships in Albert Park.
Tony was about 14 when he first did some domestic coaching for about five years. He took a
break until about 2008 when he returned to Horsham and HABA, with his children. Tony

started coaching when his son, Jack, was in under-12s. He has coached a team most seasons
since then. He was CBL women’s coach last season.
• Tony is a level-two association level coach, qualified in 2014.
• Started coaching representative squads in 2012.
• Skills Day volunteer coach 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. Jamboree Coach 2014, 2015 and
• Academy satellite coach 2014, 2015 and 2016
• Southwest Academy head coach 2016-current
• Gold Nugget Camp Support Coach 2016-current
• NITP Southwest Area head coach 2016
• HP Sub Hub coach 2019-20
Tony joined the board as a general board member in 2012. He has been junior
representative director from 2013-19. He has also done publicity and grants, was media
director from 2016-18 and was coaching director in 2019.
Nicole ‘Herb’ Lakin
Nicole started playing basketball at HABA in the 1980s. She represented HABA as a rep
junior in all age groups and played numerous games a senior for Horsham Hellcats.
Level 1A referee who has refereed for the association for more than 20 years.
Nicole has coached domestic teams since a teenager, so for more than 20 years
OTHER COACHING – Representative
• Coached representative squads consistently since 2014.
• Skills Day volunteer coach since 2014
• Jamboree Coach 2016
• Academy Satellite Coach participant since 2014
Nicole has had several roles on the HABA board throughout more than a decade. Roles
include: president, senior vice-president, referee director, canteen director, CBL liason.
Gareth Hiscock
Gareth joined as a board member when his girls started squad basketball in 2009 and was
on the board for all bar one or two years since. He took over as president when Tim Coller
resigned mid year and was president the following year after that. He has been junior vice-
president for several years. Gareth was instrumental with Sharon Fedke in getting the Lady
Hornets CBL program up and running.
• Assistant coach of Lady Hornets from seasons 13-14 and 14-15, with the latter culminating
in a premiership. Took over as head coach in seasons 15-16, 16-17 and 17-18, with a
premiership in 15-16 and runner-up the other two seasons.
• Academy – floor coach in academy representing Horsham at Horsham, Hamilton and
Portland camps for three years.
• Has worked with Owen Hughan for the past two years, and Horsham council to negotiate
the lease for the HABA stadium for a 10-year term.

• Obtained a grant through Lawrence and Hanson for the lighting upgrade at the stadium
with a market value about $20,000.
Tim Pickert
• 320 Games over 20 years.
• Five-time championship player.
• Nine-time club MVP.
• Dual CBL MVP.
• Multiple CBL and Big V leading scorer titles.
• Multiple CBL and Big V All Star 5 awards.
• Two-time junior state representative
• Three-time Australia Country Cup.
• Hornets captain.
• Hornets head coach.
• First Hornets player to have singlet retired.
Cam Bruce
• Over 200 games played.
• Two-time championship player.
• Big V Division 2 Rising Star.
• CBL South West League MVP.
• Big V 'Golden Hands' award winner.
• Big V All Star.
• Graham Adams Memorial Award Winner.
• Hornets Best and Fairest.
• Hornets head coach.
• Hornets captain.

The entire November 18, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!