Bob Turner is one of Australia’s most recognisable and respected sports personalities.
Best known for his basketball coaching and administration, Bob is renowned throughout many other sporting organisations for his marketing and management ability. His work with the Canberra Cannons and the Sydney Kings in developing marketing and sponsorship programs set the standard for the NBL during the early ‘90s. Since 1979, his expertise has seen four NBL Clubs (Newcastle Falcons, Canberra, Sydney and the Singapore Slingers) become highly competitive and well administered.
His personal success as a basketballer, coach, marketer and businessman combine to make him an authority and excellent speaker on a variety of issues including team building, motivation, success, leadership and selling and marketing sport.
Bob has been actively engaged as Head Coach, General Manager, Director an part owner of four NBL teams and most recently was the driving force in the resurrection of the Sydney Kings. His media profile and access to high profile decision makers in both the sporting and business arenas, combined with strong credibility and hard work ethic, has produced an individual with proven ability to tackle a challenge. Those skills were put to the test with the creation and implementation of the Singapore Slingers, the last team to join the NBL. The Slingers are now playing in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) the first professional sports league for the ASEAN block of countries, a competition pioneered by the Slingers and their Chairman Tony Fernandes of AirAsia.
Bob Turner came to Australia from the USA in 1976 to play basketball. He stayed, became an Australian citizen, and forged a highly successful career in sport– as a player, coach, marketer, manager and owner.
1995 was Bob’s seventh season as head coach of the Sydney Coca-Cola Kings and the last of his fourteen seasons overall as a head coach in the National Basketball League. At that time he was the second most successful active coach in the league – 223 wins at 61.3%.
Through a distinguished coaching career Bob is one of an elite group of coaches to be awarded the prestigious NBL Coach of the Year Award twice, in 1981 with the Newcastle Falcons and in 1985 with the Canberra Cannons.
Bob is also one of a handful of coaches in the thirty two year history of the National Basketball League to win more than one championship, guiding the Canberra Cannons to back-to-back titles in 1983 and 1984. He was also the youngest coach in NBL history to win an NBL Championship. This illustrious record stamps him as one of the greatest coaches in the history of the National Basketball League (NBL). In 1999 he was inducted into the NBL Hall of Fame.
Originally recruited to Australia as a player/coach of Shoalhaven in the New South Wales State League in 1976, Bob performed the dual roles for the Newcastle Falcons in the first year of the NBL in 1979.
In between his tenure at Shoalhaven and Newcastle Bob pioneered the full time role of State Director of Coaching – a position he fulfilled from 1978 – 1980 with NSW Basketball.
After spending the 1980 season as a player, Bob was appointed Head Coach of the Newcastle Falcons in 1981 and 1982 before moving to Canberra in 1983. As he had done in Newcastle, Bob set about promoting basketball in the national capital and with sell-out crowds and back-to-back titles in 1983 and 1984; Canberra was the boom city for basketball at that time.
During a two-year break from coaching Bob turned to sports marketing. His company Sportsline promoted two historic tours by the 1988 Gold Medal winning Soviet Union national Basketball team in a series against the Australian Boomers.
In 1989 Bob was appointed the Head Coach of the Sydney Kings. In his seven seasons with the Kings, Bob took the team to the play-offs on four occasions – amassing 97 wins from 167 games (.58) and reaching the deciding game of the semi-finals in 1989 and 1992. During his tenure, Bob was responsible for recruiting crowd favourites such as Dwayne McClain and Leon Trimmingham and played a key role off the court in the marketing and promotion of the team.
From 1996 –1999 Bob was the Marketing Director of Basketball Australia, where he had responsibility for the development of marketing and sponsorship programs, along with management of special events.
In 2000 Bob turned his passion for the Kings into a business as the lead man in the purchase of the Sydney Kings franchise.
Over the years, Bob has combined his leadership and marketing skills to promote a variety of sports including Baseball, Gymnastics, Lawn Bowls, Speedway and Basketball. In 2003 he put his talents to work with Sports Marketing and Management, a company responsible for the sponsorship programs for the Australian Olympic Committee, Commonwealth Games and Australian Swimming.
In July 2004, Bob was appointed General Manager of Sporting Spectrum – one of Australia and Singapore’s leading event management companies at the time. Sporting Spectrum’s expansion into Asia is what led Bob to one of his biggest challenges, the Singapore Slingers.
On March 14th, 2006, the NBL announced the inclusion of a Singapore based team to the League, a franchise pioneered by Bob. Two months later, on the 23rd of the May the Singapore Slingers were unveiled tipping off their first game on the 20th of September of that year. He was Managing Director and a principal shareholder in the organisation. The Singapore Slingers withdrew from the Australian League in July, 2008 in preference to playing games in the Asian region, initially through a ‘Challenge Series’. Bob, the Slingers and their Chairman, Tony Fernandes from AirAsia, were instrumental in the successful launch of the first professional sports league for the ASEAN block of countries in any sport, the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL). The Slingers played their opening game on October 11th, 2009, against the Brunei Barracudas in the 11,000 seat Singapore Indoor Stadium.
In February, 2010, Bob turned his attention and skills towards resurrection of the Sydney Kings as General Manager. The team re-entered the NBL competition on October 16, 2010 playing to a close to full house at the 10,400 seat Sydney Entertainment Centre. Despite a losing season on the court, in the last game of the season the Kings played in front of 9,535 to lead the NBL in average attendance, web traffic and merchandise sales. As General Manager, Bob was the driving force in re-establishing the credibility of the iconic Sydney Kings brand.
Bob is now looking to new challenges in the next phase of his career.
Bob is married to Alison and they have three children- Jason, Rachel and Megan.