Shock as Raiders part ways with Love
Gavin Love has been fired as head coach of Plymouth Raiders just a week before the British Basketball League side go into their pre-season matches.
Love, who has led Plymouth to three top-six finishes in the league, was axed with a year left on his contract after a vote of no confidence in him by the Raiders' board.
The early front-runner to replace Love – perhaps as early as Monday, when the club expects to make a further announcement – is the Raiders' Academy boss, Jay Marriott.
Love, who captained Raiders when they won their only piece of silverware – the BBL Trophy – in the 2006-07 season, replaced the long-serving Gary Stronach as head coach back in June 2010.
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Love's exit from the club he has served both as player and then as head coach so close to the 2013-14 BBL Championship campaign will come as a shock to their fans in Plymouth and beyond.
However, chairman Bob Widdecombe said the difference of opinion between coach and board over "the way forward for Raiders" had been brewing for some time.
A club statement read: "The board has carried out a pre-season review of all roles and, as a result, have passed a vote of no confidence in Gavin Love taking the club forward.
"We therefore had no alternative but to terminate his contract. Plymouth University Raiders are well known and respected as the benchmark for junior development and match-night presentation.
"We also believe it is time we were considered the benchmark for performance, and rewarding our loyal, fantastic supporters with some truly entertaining basketball and winning performances."
Widdecombe said the board felt Love was not fully behind their avowed aim to go down the "development path", where a coaching team would bring on English youngsters, rather than going down the traditional route of just recruiting "established American or EU players".
"It is that ethos of development that I feel we must take on board, as I know there are lots of youngsters who would love to play for Raiders in the BBL," Widdecombe added.
"You couldn't have a lot of talented but inexperienced players on the bench and expect them to go up against already developed basketball players. But, by giving youngsters a few minutes court-time, while still having a core group of professionals to call upon, we can have a deeper roster and also a group of players keen to learn and hungry to succeed," he concluded.
Love politely declined to comment, when contacted.