TASmanian Sport & Coaching Collective
TASmanian Sport & Coaching Collective

Greatest Coach

creative bill

There are some great days on the Australian calendar.
Days that we have fun like Christmas, days where we celebrate too hard like birthdays, days we remember like ANZAC Day and days we commemorate like the Easter. There are days of mourn and party at the same time like Australia Day, have a day off for the hell of it like the Queen’s Birthday and days of sport like Boxing Day.
And then there are days that spark conversation like 19 December, a day that should be a public holiday in Tasmania.
Why 19 December you ask? Well, Tasmania’s greatest sportsman was born in Launceston on that date in 1974. He went on to be Tasmanian cricket captain, a Hurricane, Test Captain, ICC rep and score more than 13,000 test runs with 41 tons. No, not Mr Boon, but the great Ricky Thomas Ponting.
So why should his birthday spark conversation?
Well, on that holiest of birthday’s I posted in a Facebook group I’m in that he was Tasmania’s greatest sportsman. I was met with cries of anguish from Peter Hudson and Darrell Baldock fans, groans from David Boon fans and outrage from David Foster aficionados. There were calls of recognition for Eddie Ockenden, Melissa Carlton, Bianca Langham, Matthew Wells, Matthew Gurr, Danny Clark and Laurie Nash. I’m sure you could add heaps more in there. Marcos Ambrose, John Bowe, Matthew Richardson and Grant Birchall all rated a mention.
It got me thinking. We talk about our GOAT (I really hate that term) regularly and, for the record my tope three are Punter, Eddie and Doc, but how often do we look at who are our greatest coaches?
I must admit I have favourite coaches and struggle to put them into greatest order or greatest of all time, such is my knowledge of other sports and where people are from but here is a list of a few coaches who I believe should be part of a conversation.
Darrell Baldock played 426 games of footy and coached numerous premiership sides at local level. He coached St Kilda, the club he loved, and was very successful horse trainer. Is horse training coaching animals instead of people? I’m sure if Devonport Cup Chardere turned into Mr Ed for a day it would say yes.
Tim Coyle was the drought breaking coach of the Tasmanian Cricket team when it started winning titles for fun. Coyle is renowned the world over for his coaching and is a highly sought after consultant, particularly when it comes to wicket keeping where his is a Yoda to many.
Glenn Freeman is a name that might not get mentioned too often outside his sport but in 2014 Tasmania won its first and only Australian Hockey League crown. Sure, he had a team full of champions at his disposal, but he molded a unit that did what no other senior Tasmanian team had every done.
Ray Quarrell has coached gift winners here, there and everywhere including having runners at the fables Stawell Gift, the greatest footrace in Australia. Quarrell continues to churn out quality athletes on the carnival scene even after the devastation of the Dunalley bushfires.
Is there an argument for Eddie Jones, Wallaby, England and Japan coach and World Cup Winning Technical Advisor for the Springboks? He was born in Burnie.
Do you have a favourite coach, a thought on greatest Tasmanian coach or even a coach you’d like to send a shout out to?
Personally, I’ve loved training and learning under Baden Sharman and Nathan Dart. These two educate(d) me on the game and as a person.
So, the greatest might be subjective, but the subject is worth talking about.

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