Gary Turner passed away 3 weeks ago and last weeks game against Sydney was dedicated to a man who was our programs biggest supporter.
Gary was involved since the teams inception in the league back in 1984. Gary did it all for the Boomers, a leading volunteer who helped set up and pulled down the venue on game days, he joined the committee, did the team stats, worked the score bench, was a selector one year and was court announcer for many many years after that. To many past players though he was the sideline coach always willing to let you know what you and the team can do to become better.....
Before Gary lost his battle with cancer we asked him if he would put together his team of the Quarter Century. Gary Turners team of the Quarter Century was announced before the game on Saturday night which tied in nicely to the Boomers heritage week which saw a pre game function that saluted not only Gary and all his work since his involvement with the team in 1984 but also saluted all the players that had ever dawned a WNBL Boomer jersey over the past 25 years.
The first captain of the WNBL team Janet Kelly paid tribute to the club and spoke about what it was like being involved in the inaugural season and how it was being coached under Trevor Cook. 11 year Boomer Kate Cohen who played through 5 coaching changes...Paul Deacon, Tammy Good, Lori Chizik, Nathan Jones and Cheryl Chambers spoke of her memories of Boomer days and also paid tribute to how special the Boomer club is because it was back then and still is today a family club with the mums and dads making it possible for young girls to live their dreams by forming comittees to keep the team afloat. One of the early coaches who started as Paul Deacons assistant Tammy Good , who then went on to head coach the team reflected on the fun road trips and lighter side of coaching the Boomers.
No doubt however it was one player whose name kept being mentioned over and over again for her significant on court contribution. Debbie Slimmon is regarded by many of us as the greatest player to dawn the Boomers outfit. Slimmon played through and era where she single handedly carried the team across the line to many victories. A player who still holds many WNBL league records Slimmon was one of the hottest properties back in the game during the late 80's early 90's. Having the option to play in any team for a considerable amount of money Slimmon chose to stay at Bulleen and help Good and co develop the program. Slimmon went on to win WNBL MVP awards in 1990 and 1992 and made all star 5 appearances in 1988 1989, 1990. The Boomers have had 2 other WNBL MVP's in Katrina Hibbert who won back to back MVP awards in 04'05 and 05'06 and Hollie Grima who then went on to win the illustrious award in season 06'07.
On the night it was decide that each year during Heritage week we would honour a past player. It is no surprise that it was a unanimous decision that the first player to be honoured was to be WNBL MVP and past Bulleen Boomer player Debbie Slimmon.
It was no surprise on Saturday night when Gary Turners wife Bev, son Ian and grand daughter Zee announced Gary Turner's team of the 1/4 Century and it included Debbie Slimmon. The rest of GT's team of the Century is as follows:
Katrina Hibbert(2xWNBL MVP)
Debbie Slimmon(2x WNBL MVP)
Samantha Thornton (Bulleen Hall of Fame)
Hollie Grima (WNBL MVP)