Molloy steps down as Tall Ferns coach

March 27, 2024 | Sydney Flames news

After six years, two Olympic cycles and over 40 games at the helm, Guy Molloy – the current head coach of the Sydney Flames – announced on Wednesday that he will step away from his role as head coach of the New Zealand Tall Ferns.

The decision comes less than a year after Coach Molloy guided the New Zealand Women’s national team to a historic fourth-place finish at the 2023 FIBA Asia Cup in Sydney; the Tall Ferns’ best-ever finish in this competition, which included a memorable win over world-ranked 11th Korea.


The Tall Ferns’ final placing at the Asia Cup also secured them a place at last month’s Olympic Qualifiers in China.

With injuries to multiple key players – including Charlisse Leger-Walker and Penina Davidson – the young squad was unable to secure a coveted Olympic berth, despite impressive debuts from several athletes new to the black jersey.

Coach Guy Molloy first joined the Tall Ferns programme in 2017 as an assistant coach under Kennedy Kereama, before taking over the head coaching reigns in 2018.

Inheriting a team ranked 42nd-best in the world, coach Molloy’s first challenge was to lead the Tall Ferns at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

New Zealand finished that tournament with a 5-1 record, earning bronze while also introducing the world to a future star in 16-year-old Charlisse Leger-Walker.

Later that year, coach Molloy steered New Zealand to its first-ever William Jones Cup title, besting heavyweights Japan 85-74 in the final to claim the cup – despite being one of the lowest-ranked teams in the competition.

Six years later, and under coach Molloy’s tenure the Tall Ferns have registered a 20-19 professional record overall, spanning three FIBA Asia Cups and a lengthy hiatus thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, New Zealand currently sits in 26th place on the FIBA women’s world rankings – rising as high as 23rd place in 2023 – and the future is looking bright for the program.

Coach Molloy says that although it was a tough call to make, he knew now was the right time to move on from the Tall Ferns.

“I think you always know in your heart when it’s the right time to leave a programme; and as difficult and emotional decision as it’s been for me to make, I feel that the timing is right,” Molloy said.

“You’re only ever the steward of the Tall Ferns, it’s been a long time for me in this role and I’m nothing but proud of my time in this programme and what we’ve achieved.

“To compete amongst the top teams in the world, and with the young talent we’ve got emerging and the strides we’ve made collectively in the high-performance space; I hope that I’ve left it in a better place and that I’m able to pass the torch on and let the next person do the job their own way.”


Coach Molloy says he will take away a lot of positive memories from his time with the Tall Ferns.

“I’m proud of the fact that our world ranking has jumped by almost 20 places since I took over the team and that we’re at the point where we’ve got a host of great young athletes emerging up the ranks – from Charlisse and Tera [Reed] to the newest generation of incredibly exciting young talent like Pahlyss Hokianga, Ritorya Tamilo and Lauren Whittaker, just to name a few,” he said.

“To have the opportunity to not only work with the best female athletes in the country but also to have brought so many future Tall Ferns into the programme – is something I’ll cherish.

“It’s been a great ride over the past six years and the future of the Tall Ferns looks pretty good to me.”