Crocodiles snap back for North Queensland basketball
IT'S not just the word on the street in Townsville that has Crocodiles fans confident of being a part of the 2013/14 season ... head office at Basketball Australia shares the same view.
It has been just one month since Barrier Reef Basketball Pty Ltd, the previous owner of the Crocodiles' NBL licence, attempted to hand back its licence, saying the 20-year-old franchise could not continue because of ongoing financial losses.
But the north Queensland club seems to have bounced back thanks to overwhelming community support.
The Crocs have transformed into a community-run organisation, and a key part of that strategy - memberships - are increasing dramatically.
Director Mark McGregor said the revival had been fantastic after he had conceded the club would fold.
"For 12 hours there at one stage I had given up and said 'we're gone'," he said.
"But at that moment the phones starting ringing and concerned members of the community told me 'you've got to set up a steering committee', which we did.
"The support to keep us going has been unbelievable."
A $1.4 million donation from a private backer proved highly beneficial, and McGregor said 1300 members had already signed on, the club setting a target of 2200 by the start of the 2013-14 season.
"Our new community model has been embraced. A lot of people have come forward and not only made financial pledges, but put their hands up to carry out some volunteer work," he said.
"Even some past fans that were disgruntled at us losing some key players over the years have come back."
McGregor said an announcement on new coaching staff could be made as early as next week.
NBL general manager Chuck Harmison said confirmation on whether the Crocs would be a part of next season's competition should only be weeks away.
"They've submitted a number of documents and business plans and it's all looking positive," Harmison said.
"After May 15 we'll be able to reveal what will happen."