Ipswich Basketball operations manager Sean Fernance is keen to help lift the profile and popularity of his favourite sport.
Ipswich Basketball operations manager Sean Fernance is keen to help lift the profile and popularity of his favourite sport. David Nielsen

Sean's dream sporting job in Ipswich

BEING an amateur stand-up comedian and part-time marriage celebrant typifies the diverse range of talents Sean Fernance possesses.

However, as he enjoys making people laugh and uniting couples, he has another passion in life.

The Ipswich Basketball Association's recently recruited operations manager grew up playing the game in Gosford, quickly becoming a Sydney Kings fan and loving the NBA.

After various stints with Basketball Queensland, AFL Queensland and in motorsport, Fernance has accepted what he considers a dream job.

He can apply his 10 years of sports industry knowledge to a game he has the closest links to.

"I know basketball for me growing up was something, when I was a 10-year-old kid, that helped shape my identity,'' Fernance, 33, said.

"Basketball is my sport.

"I always loved it and as a spectator as well.

"It was one of those things when this job popped up that it all just kind of made sense.

"I was properly ready for that challenge and it was an opportunity to get back to my number one sport that I loved the most.''

He's only previous ties to Ipswich were when he did club development work for the Confederation of Australian Motorsport, covering Queensland Raceway.

However, he's quickly warmed to his new job having worked with current Ipswich Force state league men's coach Chris Riches a decade ago.

Fernance was appointed by the IBA management committee last October to fulfil a range of responsibilities.

"It's a big job,'' he said.

"I'm primarily in charge of the association and the stadium as well. So that's everything from running the facility - making sure the lights stay on in here - but also keeping the association ticking over.''

He also oversees the junior and senior competitions and plays an active role in the state league.

"I've got a hand in everything and I've very lucky to have a lot of volunteers and a great management committee helping me out as well because it's way too big for one man.''

Fernance accepted his basketball role after previously working four years with AFL Queensland.

"I haven't come in wanting to make big broad changes or anything,'' the former development officer said.

"I just want to come in and see how things run and try and really affect little things and try and make things smoother and easier for everyone involved whether that be our staff, our volunteers, the users as well.''

Fernance said working with AFL Queensland had been beneficial.

"I had a lot of success there with the Auskick program, lots of growth in participation and female football as well,'' he said.

He went on to become a program manager at head office.

Before venturing into motorsport and AFL, he worked with Basketball Queensland in 2008 and 2009.

As he tackles specific goals in basketball, Sean Fernance is confident his past experience will hold him in good stead.

"It's a broad range of sports and mostly in that development space,'' he said, having being employed in a permanent part-time arrangement with Ipswich Basketball.

"Whether it be actual club or participant, development is where most of my background is.

"This role is probably as broad a role as I have, and that's what I was looking for here.

"I wanted a bit more of a more management level challenge and this is my first time really doing facility management and try to be across multiple facets.

"I'm really enjoying having the variety.

"Coming in here every day is little bit different.''

With a Bachelor of Business majoring in sports management, Fernance said success can be measured in quantifiable ways like growth, a healthy association and a good balance sheet at the end of the financial year.

"But success to me is seeing some of our local guys come through the QBL program and creating opportunities for kids to go and play overseas or in US colleges . . . or even at a more local level, just giving kids the opportunity to come here and do something that they enjoy as well.''

Fernance endorses the asscociation's community engagement and shares his management committee's three-five year aspirations.

"The club is really keen for change as well,'' he said. "They are keen to take the next step as an association from being a small to middle-sized association to be one of the bigger, more well-run ones.''

Meanwhile, while basketball fulfils an important part of his life, Fernance likes to perform his humour acts at taverns and club around south east Queensland.

"It's a lot of fun despite the nerves,'' he said of entertaining crowds with his comedy routine.

He's been a marriage celebrant for four years, offering that service as needed.

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