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Peter Byrne - Video Interview

September 4th, 2020 - submitted by smoke

Peter Byrne, the first Australian to play professional basketball in Europe recounts his career including two olympic campaigns in 1968 and 1972, the Melbourne Tigers, Melbourne University as well as playing and coaching in Germany.

0:36 1959 Box Hill High School
2:55 Juniors with Church of England competition Saturday nights, Albert Park
5:50 Under 16s with Mal Speed coached by Lindsay Gaze
8:56 Australian High School games (Undefeated)
9:54 1968 Mexican Olympic team selection
11:49 Enrolled in Melbourne University because it was closer to the basketball stadium (Albert Park)
12:42 How much practise did the senior Melbourne Tigers do?
16:38 1967-70 Melbourne Tigers competing in Victorian Championships / South Eastern Conference (fore-runner to NBL - Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Newcastle, Woolongong). 1k spectators at games, no player payments
19:50 Coaching position for Melbourne University Women
20:36 Lindsay Gaze, Billy Wyatt (both Australian hall of fame players), Freddy Guy and Tim Pearson (from Auburn University)
21:45 Melbourne Tigers tour of the United States San Jose State, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Gonzaga, Wyoming, Brigham Young
25:55 Man defence, zones, no 3 point line
26:30 Fitness and conditioning - Ken Cole and Ken Watson anecdotes
28:30 Ken Watson, the father of Australian basketball
31:25 1960s basketball facilities in Melbourne and Gippsland
35:20 American college facilities
35:45 UCLA & Kareem Abdul Jabbar
37:27 Idaho State college basketball offer, turned down for Melbourne University
38:38 Rod Wulff Oregon, Karl Rodwell, University of California Riversdale (possibly the first Australian to play NCAA basketball)
39:25 Eddie Palubinskas
42:10 Australian access to basketball publications (ie. Scholastic Coach) and media coverage
44:39 1972 Russia's dubious gold medal at the Munich Olympics
52:20 1968 Olympic team selection
54:10 Mexico Olympic basketball qualifying tournament failing qualification
56:30 Peter Norman, S.T Saffold, Tommy Smith and John Carlos black power salute after the 200m mens final
58:20 Billeting visiting players in Melbourne & parental support
1:02:47 Creation of the Oceania olympic qualifying zone
1:05:29 1970 First job, $3,600 per year for Rio Tinto (called CRA at the time)
1:07:26 1970/71 Coaching Melbourne University's womens team
1:09:50 Melbourne University playing in 2nd division Victorian mens championships
1:11.00 Melbourne University Ray Watson, Roger Bolton, Ian Speed, Mal Speed, Alby Oaten
1:13:17 VABA 1st division was seen as Australia's top competition
1:13:59 Reno Presbytarian church merger with Melbourne East to become Nunawading Spectres Basketball Club
1:15:00 Re-writing the Melbourne University Basketball Club Constitution with Alby Oaten
1:17:17 Coaching the Melbourne University women's team
1:17:55 Winning the inter-varsity national university championship / boat race
1:21:20 Womens basketball at Albert Park courts 9, 2, 3 & 4
1:23:17 Rick Longley (father of Luc) - How's the weather up there?
1:24:47 Won Intervarsity at Monash hosted Inter Varsity Cheryl McKenna, Kay Edwards, Pat Byrne, Diane Patterson
1:29:16 1971 Trip to the USA with Melbourne Tigers, injured knee
1:31:00 1972 Olympic team selection
1:33:24 NZ oceanic olympic qualifiers
1:33:45 Olympic opening ceremony
1:34:40 9th place olympic finish, Spain, Czechoslovakia
1:36:10 Standard of European basketball / Professionalism
1:39:00 Americans playing for Australia and Spain national teams, Perry Crosswhite / Ken James
1:41:00 European style of game
1:44:07 1972 Olympics, old school American college coach Hank Iba wouldn't let his team run
1:47:53 Amateur status of basketball player elgibility for the Olympics
1:49:24 1976 team Perry Crosswhite, Ian Watson, John Maddock
1:51:38 Emergence of professionalism in Australian Basketball
1:53:39 1972 Olympic team mostly victorians running the shuffle coached by Lindsay Gaze
1:58:12 Being locked out of the olympic village following the terrorist attack
2:00:26 Bayern Munich Bundesliga professional contract followed by a playing contract in Cologne
2:08:30 Professionalism of German basketball clubs in the 70's
2:12:37 Athleticism of players and introduction of 3 point line
2:14:57 Coaching the Cologne womens team
2:17:20 Met wife Gabriela in germany
2:18:14 Peter hired first Australian professional woman to play in Europe - Helen Nugent in late 70's
2:20:40 Played 1973-75 in Germany, coached 10-12 years afterwards including the German womens under 20 national team and served as Vice President of the German Coaches Association for 7 years
2:23:28 1986 - the Chernobyl explosion occurred and geiger counter readings of Peter's german lawn classified it as nuclear waste prompting him to return to Australia