|Team Colours||Red, Black and White|
|Home Venue||Challenge Stadium, Perth|
|Major Sponsor||Saville Australia|
|Championships||1990, 1991, 1995, 1999/00|
|Team History|| Westate Wildcats |
|Chief Executive||Nick Marvin|
|Assistant Coach||Mick Downer, Mark Radford|
The Perth Wildcats are an Australian basketball team competing in the National Basketball League. The Wildcats are the only team in the league representing the state of Western Australia and are based in the state capital, Perth. They are one of the most successful teams in the league, having achieved four championships during their 24 seasons (equalled by only the Adelaide 36ers), and have currently appeared in the finals for 21 straight seasons (an accomplishment matched by no other NBL club).
After signing a number of star players (including Cal Bruton, Tiny Pinder and James Crawford), the Wildcats not only made their first playoff appearance in 1987, but attained a Grand Final berth. Unfortunately for the Wildcats they lost this Grand Final series to the Brisbane Bullets. Despite this loss the 1987 season marked the beginning of 21 straight years of playoff appearances that still runs to this day.
The following years were not as successful on or off the court for the Wildcats. Significantly, the club was forced to deal with the shocking death of player Scott Fenton and his fiancée in a car accident during the 1989 season. In his memory, Scott Fenton’s jersey (number 14) became the first to be retired by the club.
The Wildcats were destined for more turmoil in 1992: they were unable to secure a hat-trick of championships, they lost player Kendall (Tiny) Pinder in very controversial circumstances, and captain Mike Ellis retired at the end of the season. Andrew Vlahov became captain of the club in 1993 and the Wildcats competed in another Grand Final campaign. This time however the Wildcats were defeated in a tough battle with the Melbourne Tigers, who claimed their first NBL championship. The Wildcats lost by two points. The television broadcast of the game incorrectly displayed the final score as a one-point loss.
The 1994 season was lacklustre, with sixteen wins and ten losses in the regular season and elimination 2-0 in the quarter-finals by the South-East Melbourne Magic. By contrast 1995 saw the Wildcats sitting on top of the table and eventually blitzing the North Melbourne Giants in game three of the series. The Wildcats' third championship also allowed the club to travel to the McDonald's Championship in London to play against the best clubs in the world. The Wildcats lost against the Houston Rockets from the NBA 116 - 72 in their first game of the tournament, but defeated Real Madrid 93 - 86 in their second game.
The 1997 season became the testimonial season for James Crawford who was expected to retire at the end of that season. The Wildcats hosted an exhibition match against James Crawford’s all-star team, which featured many NBL stars both current and retired. Although 1997 had been touted as Crawford’s retirement year, he continued to play until injury forced him out during the 1998/99 season.
Andrew Vlahov and Luc Longley purchased the Wildcats from businessman Kerry Stokes for the 1999/2000 season. The season itself was very successful for the Wildcats as they claimed their fourth championship against the Victoria Titans, becoming the first team in NBL history to do so. To top off the stellar season, centre Paul Rogers became the first Wildcat to win the Most Valuable Player award.
The end of the 2001/02 season saw the Wildcats leave the Perth Entertainment Centre for a return to their old home the Superdrome (now Challenge Stadium). Till then, Perth had avoided the league's fall in attendance, thanks to the team's performances and the popular central CBD location of the arena, but the Perth Entertainment Centre was no longer viable for its owner Kerry Stokes as basketball was not the primary tenant, and he was forced to close the venue and relocate the team back to their former and unpopular suburban-based arena.
Ricky Grace became captain of the club in 2002/03 when Andrew Vlahov retired from the league. The season saw the Wildcats head to their seventh Grand Final, where unfortunately for the Wildcats they were defeated by the Sydney Kings in their first championship. More controversy followed as coach Alan Black was fired for the second time by the club.
Mike Ellis became coach for the following season, but his tenure was short, being replaced the following season by Scott Fisher. The 2004/05 season saw the end of an era as captain Ricky Grace played his last game of his career with the club. Grace was the only remaining member of all the Wildcats' championships and had been an integral part of the club for 15 years. In order to celebrate his career with the Wildcats a legends match was held featuring many retired Wildcats stars (including Bruton, Crawford, Ellis, Vlahov and Fisher), current and retired NBL stars (including Leroy Loggins, Andrew Gaze, Mark Davis and Phil Smyth).
With Grace retired, veteran player Tony Ronaldson became captain of the Wildcats in 2005/06, but was relieved of his captaincy after only one season.
The Wildcats have also been instrumental in the NBL's push towards promoting the league in the lucrative Asian market over the last few years. Not only have Wildcats games been telecast to millions of potential viewers in Southeast Asia, the Wildcats have hosted several regular season games in Singapore in an event known as the "Singapore Spectacular. Now that the Singapore Slingers have joined the NBL, the "Singapore Spectacular" is no longer held.
In February 2006, West Australian Jack Bendat became the Chairman and majority shareholder of the club. Although no longer the majority shareholder, Andrew Vlahov remains in control of the club as the Managing Director..
In August 2006, Paul Rogers became the fifth player to captain the Wildcats. Rogers replaced Tony Ronaldson as captain for 2006/07, despite Ronaldson's continuing to play for the club. The Wildcats celebrated their 25th anniversary during the 2006/07 NBL season and recorded their highest number of wins in a single season (23 wins), although historically they have recorded better win-loss ratios. The 2007 season came to an end when the Wildcats were defeated by the Cairns Taipans 82-78 in the quarter finals. Currently the Wildcats have played exactly 800 NBL games.
As of late 2006, a new Perth Arena with a capacity of over 12,000 spectators is being built on the former Perth Entertainment Centre (PEC) car park. Managing director Andrew Vlahov has expressed interest at moving the club to the new arena once it is completed in 2009, and owner Jack Bendat has been named as a future stadium user. Despite a desire to move to this larger capacity venue, the Wildcats would need to overcome what would likely be significant costs involved in hiring the arena, an issue that cost the Wildcats dearly during the later years of their tenure at the PEC.
|NBL Championships:||4 (1990, 1991, 1995, 2000)|
|NBL Finals Appearances:||1987 - current|
|NBL Grand Final appearances:||7 (1987, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1995, 2000, 2003)|
|NBL Most Valuable Players:||Paul Rogers (2000)|
|NBL Grand Final MVPs:||Ricky Grace (1990), Pete Hanson (1991), Ricky Grace (1993), Andrew Vlahov (1995), Marcus Timmons (2000)|
|All-NBL First Team:||James Crawford (1987), Ricky Grace (1991, 2001-03), Andrew Vlahov (1992, 1995), Paul Rogers (2000, 2002), Shawn Redhage (2008)|
|NBL Coach of the Year:||Murray Arnold (1991)|
|NBL Rookie of the Year:||Andrew Vlahov (1991)|
|NBL Most Improved Player:||James Harvey (2001), Matt Burston (2003), Peter Crawford (2005)|
|NBL Best Sixth Man:||Stephen Black (2003)|
|1982||10th (10-16)||-||Henry Daigle||Mike Ellis|
|1983||12th (6-16)||-||Gordon Ellis||Mike Ellis|
|1984||16th (3-20)||-||Lynn Massey||Mike Ellis|
|1985||8th (13-13)||-||Jay Brehmer||Mike Ellis|
|1986||12th (8-18)||-||Jay Brehmer||Mike Ellis|
|1987||4th (19-7)||Grand-Finalists||Cal Bruton||Mike Ellis|
|1988||6th (13-11)||Semi-Finalists||Cal Bruton||Mike Ellis|
|1989||3rd (16-8)||Semi-Finalists||Alan Black||Mike Ellis|
|1990||5th (17-9)||CHAMPIONS||Alan Black/Cal Bruton||Mike Ellis|
|1991||1st (22-4)||CHAMPIONS||Murray Arnold||Mike Ellis|
|1992||6th (12-12)||Quarter-Finalists||Murray Arnold||Mike Ellis|
|1993||1st (21-5)||Grand-Finalists||Adrian Hurley||Andrew Vlahov|
|1994||6th (16-10)||Quarter-Finalists||Adrian Hurley||Andrew Vlahov|
|1995||1st (19-7)||CHAMPIONS||Adrian Hurley||Andrew Vlahov|
|1996||3rd (16-10)||Quarter-Finalists||Adrian Hurley||Andrew Vlahov|
|1997||4th (17-13)||Semi-Finalists||Adrian Hurley||Andrew Vlahov|
|1998||3rd (17-13)||Semi-Finalists||Alan Black||Andrew Vlahov|
|1998/99||6th (13-13)||Elimination-Finalists||Alan Black||Andrew Vlahov|
|1999/00||3rd (22-6)||CHAMPIONS||Alan Black||Andrew Vlahov|
|2000/01||3rd (21-7)||Elimination-Finalists||Alan Black||Andrew Vlahov|
|2001/02||2nd (17-13)||Elimination-Finalists||Alan Black||Andrew Vlahov|
|2002/03||2nd (22-8)||Grand-Finalists||Alan Black||Ricky Grace|
|2003/04||7th (15-18)||Quarter-Finalists||Mike Ellis||Ricky Grace|
|2004/05||7th (15-17)||Quarter-Finalists||Scott Fisher||Ricky Grace|
|2005/06||7th (16-16)||Semi-Finalists||Scott Fisher||Tony Ronaldson|
|2006/07||3rd (23-10)||Quarter-Finalists||Scott Fisher||Paul Rogers|
|2007/08||4th (18-12)||Semi-Finalists||Scott Fisher||Paul Rogers|
|2008/09||-||-||Conner Henry||Paul Rogers|