It is not a great exaggeration to say that Elaine Hardwick is one of the ‘Founding Mothers’ of women’s basketball in Australia. She was a player on the opening night of the Victorian women’s competition in 1955. Elaine was a member of two Opals tours of New Zealand in 1960 and 1963. An 11-year veteran of the Victorian state side, she was captain of the 1964 team that won the National Championship for the first time, after several defeats in the final.
In 1968, Elaine moved into coaching and became head coach of Brunswick/Coburg. She was the first woman to lead a team to an Australian Championship and built Coburg into a basketball powerhouse in the 1970’s.
Off the court, Elaine served as a Victorian delegate to the Amateur Basketball Union of Australia (the precursor to Basketball Australia) for over two decades and was President of its Women’s Council at the birth of the WBL (later the WNBL) in 1981. For a time, Elaine was the Tribunal Commissioner for the WNBL. She also served as team manager for numerous Opals teams in the 1970’s and 1980’s.
Elaine Hardwick’s many years of passionate involvement with the sport now receive their just reward as she is enshrined in the Australian Basketball Hall of Fame.