Phil Burns became immersed in basketball at the highly successful Mairehau High School before going on to play club basketball for University, Teachers College and Rangiora. This year’s recipient began coaching, “seriously” (as he put it) in 1978 when taking the reins of the Rangiora Women’s Senior Team and has coached almost continuously for the past four decades.
During the 1980s and early ‘90s, the recipient was club coach for North Canterbury Men and Women teams in the Canterbury Premier Grades.
He coached numerous representative age group teams, both male and female, and also coached the North Canterbury Men to the South Island Championship and National 2nd Division finals.
From 1996-1999 he was an assistant coach of the Canterbury Rams and in 1997 took Rangiora High School boys to the National Secondary Schools Final. In 1997 he also began coaching New Zealand teams, assisting Jeff Cleaver, as the NZ U20 Men won the Oceania series in New Caledonia.
He subsequently coached various NZ Men’s Teams at U19, U20, and U21 levels and in 2001 coached NZ Junior Men at the Youth Olympics in Sydney. He was also the Tall Ferns assistant coach in 2001 and 2002.
Burns took Christchurch Girls’ High School to the National Secondary Schools Championships in 2000 and 2001 and also won back to back National titles with the Canterbury Wildcats in 2004 and 2005.
He has twice received the Canterbury Basketball Coach of the Year Award and also been presented with the Sport Canterbury Winter Sports Coach of the Year Award.