|Team colors||Navy & white|
|Head coach||Eric Hayes|
|Championships||3 (1989, 1994, 1995)|
The Ballarat Miners are an Australian basketball team based in Ballarat, Victoria. The Miners compete in the Men's South East Australian Basketball League (SEABL) and play their home games at the MARS Minerdome. The team is affiliated with Ballarat Basketball Association, the major administrative basketball organisation in the region. For sponsorship reasons, they are known as the GMHBA Ballarat Miners. Their sister team, the Ballarat Rush, play in the Women's SEABL.
The Ballarat Basketball Association Inc. was incorporated in 1966 and then built its own freehold facility in 1969 on the corner of Grevillea Road and Dowling Street in Wendouree. Backed by a flourishing local basketball program and facilities at the forefront of regional basketball associations, it was announced in 1985 that Ballarat would lodge an application to join the South East Basketball League (SEBL).
Basketball Ballarat formed a separate independent club to arrange the new venture and the Elite Teams department was established. The team chosen to represent Ballarat was called the Ballarat Miners and in 1986 the Miners were admitted into the SEBL.
The Dynasty (1987–1996)
Having entered the league in 1986, the Miners were immediately a force to be reckoned with. With Brian Goorjian at the helm, Ballarat reached the ultimate goal, with the South Conference Championship in 1987, only a year after their introduction.
Goorjian departed at the end of the 1987 season and was replaced by Al Westover, who subsequently took the team to a Conference three-peat from 1989–1991, taking the South Conference for the first two years before following it up with the East Conference when moving across conferences in 1991. Westover was honoured with the inaugural Coach of the Year award in 1990 for his leadership with Ballarat throughout those three years. The Miners accomplishments continued after the departure of Westover at the end of 1991, with Eric Lowe taking the side to conference runners-up in 1992 before Brendan Joyce took over in 1993.
In Joyce's first season, the Miners went through the regular season with a stellar record of 20–4, eventually losing the Conference Semi-Final and finishing second overall. But the following two years they again achieved the ultimate success with two CBA National Championships with win/loss ratios of 18–4 and 19–3.
Joyce went one better than Westover, collecting consecutive Coach of the Year awards for his leadership over 1994 and 1995. 1996 saw Paul Hotchin take over as head coach and with an array of stars in his line-up, he helped take them to another final, eventually losing to North West Tasmania after a regular season record of 16–6.
With the introduction of the SEABL Most Valuable Player award, Eric Cooks made it his own, taking the prize in both 1989 and 1990. He was also included in the SEABL All-Star side in 1993, 1995 and 1996, and has an individual career winning percentage of over 75%. Cooks tops the SEABL All-time list for blocked shots, is fourth in total points, and second for total rebounds. Small forward Eric Hayes was a part of the 1994 All-Star team and has played more games than any other SEABL player. Hayes also sits second for All-time points scored, third for total rebounds and first for free throws attempted and made.
During the four year period with Hotchin and Joyce at the helm, Ballarat went 73–17 for the regular seasons, while also recording a 2–2 win-loss ratio in Conference Finals, and a 7–1 record for National Finals, to finish 82–20 in a period of dominance in the SEABL.
This era saw the Ballarat Miners create one of the most successful dynasties in the history of Australian basketball.
- "History". BallaratBasketball.com. Archived from the original on 6 November 2016. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
- "FROM THE VAULT: SEABL REMEMBERS THE BALLARAT MINERS DYNASTY". Australiabasket.com. Retrieved 1 June 2017.