Summer series (4/6). Our glories in the past: Mirande, the small village that dominated French women’s basketball

It is a unique story in the sports scene. Jerez FC, the French basketball’s triple champion. A real monument that has now disappeared, built by enthusiasts from scratch.

“It is the only club with such an unusual trajectory”: this is how Alain Jardel talks about his team, Basket Astark Club Mirandi. A club founded by a physical education teacher at the age of 29, in 1975, after being assigned to Gers. “When I got here, I saw there was room to make a team with the girls,” he says.

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It was Jack Barbie, of the Ochs Department of Sports, who convinced Alan Jardel that creating a basketball club was possible. “For young girls, there was nothing here except judo and tennis. At first, we set up this club to have girls play at a small administrative level. On the evening of the media meeting, we were surprised: we were supposed to be in a small hall in the city hall, but there was Lots of people, and we ended up in the big parlour.Adds future coach.BACMirande was established, and resides in the Salle de la Poudrière, which will bear its name well.

Building a quality workforce

“We had good players, like Martin Campi, who came from Mirandi. Among the girls, we were very local with players from the village and the region,” explains Alan Jardel, who goes through the stages with local players like Florence Russell. “The year we went up (1984), the only year he joined the workforce was Valerie Garnier,” continues the coach. Valerie Garnier, the player with whom he will have a unique relationship. “My first encounter with Alan was while playing against his team. She says I scored over 40 points. The next year I played at Nantes-Rezé at National 2, I played two games against BACMirande who was rising to the elite, and I was recruited. We were excited about the team. For me, it was special: I was not available for two years after the injury. Nobody let me down in the tents. The confidence of the club in my return was exceptional. “The beginning of a semi-father-daughter relationship between Alan Jardel and his player.

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So Mirande reached the first division in 1984 and had to expand his team. In the summer of 1984, Yannick Sofri arrived as the big hope of women’s basketball. After that, the league allows the recruitment of foreign players. The first BACMirande team would be Hungarian Judith Medgyessy in 1985, before the club welcomed American Shannon McGee in 1987.

BACMirande at the top

At the end of the 1987-1988 season, Mirande won his first French Champion. This achievement is already massive, but the sequel clearly illustrates the unique trajectory of the club. The team led by Alain Jardel did it again in the next two years. Mirande stands on the surface of French basketball by being the triple champion of France, three years in a row. A huge performance that will open the doors of Europe for Mirandi. Every year, the top level of European Basketball comes to meet the Gires. “We had extraordinary things, when we saw big cities playing in La Poudrière, it was crazy, as Valerie Garnier recalls. Going deep into Siberia in Novosibirsk is also a shock. I learned a month later that I ate nuts there!”
In the summer of 1988, Mirande introduced herself to an outstanding player: the Soviet Olga Sukarnova. An example of professionalism, the Olympic champion, who brings more rigor and great talent. “Radkova arrived the following year to replace Mac Gee: in Mirande, there was Gratin” Alain Jardel admits.

The end of a unique adventure

“Today with the video judging, we would not have lost our title,” Valerie Garnier laments. Mirande returned his crown in 1991, in the final against Challis-les-Os. The players then leave the team. “I don’t really know the reasons for my departure, but I know I was never the same player again without Alain, I was 300% on board,” explains Valerie Garnier, who left for Aix-en-Provence in 1991.

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Faced with the financial strength of competitors residing in large cities, Mirandi began to struggle. Oche and Mirandi weren’t the same world, but they didn’t want to »Alain Jardel, who is leaving to lead the French team, regrets. And the club disappeared in 1997, due to lack of financial means, after writing one of the most beautiful pages of women’s basketball.

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