This final list of coaches have all, in some way, gone above and beyond the normal call of volunteerism. Again, we’re not looking to reward the winningest coach - just what makes that coach an integral part of his or her club.
1. Stephen Bown - Male - Malvern Lacrosse Club - VIC
While most coaches coaching commitments to a team or club are limited to the main playing season, Stephen Bown’s commitment continues for approximately 11 months of the year. Stephen (aka Squeak) is a passionate, selfless, dedicated lacrosse coach. His dedication and devotion to the sport of lacrosse spans from grass roots introductory level – coaching junior teams in both the boys and girl’s competition – through to coaching senior teams. • In 2017 alone at the Malvern Lacrosse Club Steve coached – U15 Boys, Men’s Division 1(as a player and coach), B Grade Women’s and Eastside (a combined team) Girls U13 teams. Squeak spent both Saturdays and Sundays coaching players. • With the two junior teams he held the main coaching role – but also mentored two young senior players who expressed interest in coaching; sharing his knowledge, tips, skills and enthusiasm. • When the main field season finished for the past 4 years he has held the position of head coaching role of the Southern Crosse U15 State team. • He was instrumental in setting up the SILL (Southern Indoor Lacrosse League) competition. A competition jointly organised by four local clubs for players U15 held over summer (November and December).
He works to ensure this is successful and provide further playing opportunities for junior lacrosse players: keeping kids active, having fun and enjoying the game. On game nights Steve coaches one of the teams, and also referees several other games. He provides all players, regardless of the team/ club they play for with tips and guidance on how to improve their game. • He plays a key role in the PACE Lacrosse program. This program runs from early November to mid Dec for the past two years. PACE Lacrosse is a development program which is building the skills of interested junior players and positioning Australia well towards the Australian 2020 U19 World Championships.
His contribution to the sport is significant; he ensures young players receive the best guidance and advice from the start, regardless of their skill level. He also ensures all players have the opportunity to play and most importantly have fun. He has a calm, relaxed demeanour, is very patient, easily approachable and when we asked the kids to say a few words about Squeak they said: • he easily relates to them and can explain it so they understand • he makes it fun. • he helps everyone, not just our club. It is obvious he enjoys coaching and connects with all involved. He has the respect of every single person that knows him- kids, players -everyone. He respects them and they respect him. He has coached numerous players who have and are going onto become representatives in Victorian and Australian Teams. His dedication to teaching the game ensures lacrosse will continue to grow. We at Malvern know we are exceptionally lucky to have him and feel he is thoroughly deserving of this award.
Nominated by Tarryn Suffolk, parent of junior players, club junior coordinator
2. David Dickson & Kat Kelly - Couple - Dickson Tennis - TAS
David and his partner Katherine are the two coaches who run Dickson Tennis. They have transformed six hardly used tennis courts into a vibrant and welcoming space for children of all ages and abilities. They have initiated a daily before school program encouraging children to keep active. The skills provided to the children have resulted in fast progression and vast improvement. The children are encouraged and supported and given superior advice whilst still in a fun and engaging format. An absolute asset to our local tennis courts and children and families, we are very fortunate to have their tennis coaching expertise. Parties are also a huge hit, encompassing not only tennis skills but other gross motor sports and activities. They know how to keep the children moving and active, and rarely a moment when a child is not focussed and participating. Kat and David set up a boot load of equipment for each session, using their own mini nets, rackets, balls and ball trolleys which they take home each day. They load and unload their car for each session. It would be wonderful for them to use this prize money to have a secure storage shed on site to alleviate this. I know they are also keen to turn their Friday evening Matchplay sessions into a friendly social event for families to stay on and have a BBQ tea together so their heart is definitely in the right place too, to bring a community feel to the club. Much deserving recipients!
Nominated by Katrina Roocke, parent of young player
3. Rowena Parkes - Female - Newcastle PCYC - NSW
My coach Rowena Parkes has been in competitive gymnastics almost her whole life, and has been coaching for over 20 years. She started gymnastics at a PCYC and has been supportive of the association ever since (as she has coached in several PCYCs including Newcastle currently). Ro is dedicated to her job, working tirelessly from when she arrived almost 4 years ago until today turning our tiny, run-down gym into a place for everyone. She is an effective coach for both recreational and competitive classes. Ro is active and passionate about what she does which brightens the atmosphere in the gym every day. She teaches every gymnast uniquely, identifying our strengths and weaknesses in order to push us to the best of our ability. She combines both a firm and conscientious attitude to get the most out of our training sessions. Rowena Parkes deserves the best coach award because she is the most passionate and dedicated coach out there and I couldn't be more grateful.
Nominated by Lauren Amy, gymnast
4. Kateryna Logachova - Female - Prahran Rhythmic Gymnastics - VIC
Kateryna was nominated as Clubbies coach of the year last year. This year she has made more progress and is even more deserving of this nomination and the award. Kateryna is a Head Coach at Prahran Rhythmic Gymnastics, not only does she coach Elite squad of High Performance gymnasts, she is also oversees work by other coaches at the lower levels. Kateryna is a professional with a capital letter, besides her coaching at the club she is a regular invitee to training camps at Australian Institute of Sport or coaching conferences.
This year Kateryna is scheduled to run workshops at the Coaching Conference 2018 run by Gymnastics Victoria. To add to her very strong coaching profile Kateryna is also the one who knows the rules, as she is the highest qualified Judge in Victoria. Attaining Category 3 Brevet Judge ranking from International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) Kateryna is one only few judges in Australia who's been invited to judge World Class events in 2017/2018, in 2017 Kateryna has judged at large international tournaments in Singapore, Greece, Israel, Italy and Luxembourg. But certainly she does not travel to these competitions alone, she takes her Elite squad to compete.
The most important achievement of Kateryna is being a coach and having coached Australia's finest gymnasts, who are now well recognised around the world. On the latest trip to Europe her girls competed at two events in Italy and Luxembourg, where Luxembourg Cup was an International Federation affiliated event with world leading countries represented. Kateryna's girls came back home with numerous gold medals. Two of Kateryna's leading students recently qualified to become the only two Victorians in the Australian Commonwealth Games Shadow Squad and they will be going through the final selection event in February.
Nominated by Alexander Bogatyrev, parent of gymnast
5. Otto Suavai - Male - Southside Crusaders (Union) - FNQ
Coach has not only helped the team players but also their families. Involving the boys’ wives and kids in trainings and making the club feel like a big family. Came so close to bringing home the treats at seasons end but lost a close encounter on Grand final day on his first year as prems coach. Put his hand up to coach the Cairns women’s rugby side so they could compete and keep the union game alive in cairns for women’s. A great ambassador for Rugby Union in a dying game up in Far North Queensland with next to no support from the powers that be he seems to find a way to help promote the game and bring the best out of his troops. Even if he doesn’t win the top Gong a special mention to him would be a great motivator for people like coach to keep going and to keep up the great work.
Nominated by Simon Fidow, player
6. Brett Kennerly - Male - North Sunshine Football Club - VIC
Before Brett came to North Sunshine we were a bottom dwelling team with hardly any players and no money. In his first season we just missed out on finals and had 72 players. This year he has stepped up again as senior coach to not only have a good competitive list but also bring in a senior and youth girls side and junior sides as well as working tirelessly of finding & securing sponsors for the club. Without him we probably would have folded last year. He’s our club’s saviour.
Nominated by Harley Murphy, committee member
7. Beau Milner - Male - Ballina Rugby Union Club - NSW
Beau is a local high school teacher who never stops teaching our local kids in our community. Beau currently coaches under 10 rugby union, under 12 representative rugby union, senior rugby union, also under 12 touch football, under 12 representative touch football, senior mixed representative touch football and is the trainer/assistant coach for under 12 rugby league. He is a rugby union and touch football referee and was co-junior coordinator for Ballina Rugby Union Club. Beau also coaches rugby union, rugby league and touch football At a school level Beau is dad to 4 children and foster dad to 4 of his siblings. This man gives his time and 100% commitment in every aspect of his local community The many children and adults that walk up to Beau and say “you were/are the best coach” puts a smile on our face every time.
Nominated by Kahli Milner, wife/club manager
8. Ben Moroney - Male - Eden Area Gymnastics Centre - NSW
Our Ben is 67 years old and he runs his club practically without any profit. Ben coaches 6 days a week, he is absolutely amazing with the kids and there is no doubt in my mind that the gym would not continue to run smoothly or successfully without him. He is 100% dedicated to all his gymnasts, his knowledge of the sport is outstanding and his coaching skills are even better. Ben not that long ago had a heart attack, he was off work for 3 weeks and then back on the floor coaching, two operations and six stents later. The man is amazing and I cannot speak more highly of him.
Nominated by Janine Chester, parent of gymnast
9. Percy Sales - Male - Wyong Athletics Centre - NSW
Percy is the ultimate clubman. He is at our athletic field every day of the week always ready and able to help any athlete with their goals as well as acting as a unofficial groundsman doing line marking and all ground maintenance that the council is not doing. His passion for athletics shines brightly. He is in his 70s but that definitely does not slow him down, heck he even had two keyhole ops and was told to rest for a week…but he couldn't help himself...he still arrived, took a seat and helped prepare the children for their major competition on the weekend. He is the first one to arrive at the field and the last to leave. He asks for zero payment or acknowledgement and is often highly embarrassed if I dare give him a wrap to fellow coaches and athletes. He has been coaching kids in the Wyong area for over 30 years. I don’t know anyone who has a bad word to say about Percy... he is the ultimate coach, clubman, gentleman and human being.
Nominated by Brendan Carlson, friend
10.Natalie Oberman - Female - Triton Water Polo Cub - WA
What a superstar! Natalie Oberman is the most selfless motivating coach I have ever had the honour and privilege to watch. Battling critical illness without any thought for herself. The motivation and dedication she instilled he U16’s girls team will last a life time. After discovery of her illness not only did Nat continue to coach the team but refused not to travel to Hobart with them achieving a Club best bronze medal win at the 2017 National Club Championships. Nat rightly so won the sportsmanship award. Hats off to one truly amazing woman totally dedicated to her club, her players and her sport. Thank you Nat xx.
Nominated by Michelle Witton, parent of player
11 Brendan Sutton - Male - Mudgee Triathlon Club - NSW
Brendan Sutton has taken on the role of coach to the junior 'Red Devils' Mudgee Triathlon Club. He has gone above & beyond the role of coach. For example, he has raised money for equipment (bikes, wind trainers, rollers & Tri suits) from grants and fundraising at the local Bunnings BBQ. He has volunteered his time as bus driver to transport juniors to the NSW Junior Championships because there was a shortage of accommodation. But the thing is, he is so passionate and dedicated to the world of Triathlon and the development of juniors in the sport. A typical training week consists of three morning swim sessions that last one hour. He conducts run sessions & brick sessions two afternoons a week. That's a total of six hours per week of time volunteered to our kids. And then to top it off, he will often come and watch them race. And the best thing is the 'Junior Red Devils' are having fun. Yep, this county needs more Brendan Suttons that's for sure. Check out Face Book page 'Mudgee Junior Devils training’.
Nominated by Tania Pottet, parent of junior triathlete
12. Melissa Hope - Female - East Maitland Netball Club - NSW
Melissa (my mum) took on coaching last year for the first time in many years. She coached a team that she didn't know a single player, they had never played together before, she also had one player with an intellectual disability. Her players were all 12 and 13 years old. She encouraged these girls and took a team that had no confidence through and undefeated season and winners of a Grand Final. She showed these girls not only how to play netball but how to be a team. She taught them that regardless of your ability or disability that they were all equal, that one person does not make a team and that they needed to be positive and encouraging to each other. If they did that then they could do anything. Faced with a player that had an intellectual disability, Melissa made sure that this young girl was included, was respected and most of all had confidence and enjoyed playing. She spent extra time with this player teaching her how to catch a ball, how to play netball and how to be a part of this team. Melissa taught this team to ignore the bullies that made remarks regarding their disabled team mate and to celebrate with the team and stand by each other. She was always there to talk to them and keep them motivated. She mentored a few of them with umpiring, she taught them about good sportsmanship and giving back to the club and association.
Not only did Melissa give up all day Saturday to be at the courts and help other coaches and umpires as well as her own team and myself, she coached, umpired and helped her club in any way that they needed often doing extra umpiring or canteen duty when it was not her turn so the club was not fined or left short. She would do anything for anybody. Her mission was to make sure that her team and all the teams played well, learnt and had fun. I think not only was she an amazing coach but an amazing role model to all coaches, umpires and parents within our club and association.
Nominated by Chloe Hope, daughter
13. Joelle Maguire - Female - Team AeroGym - NSW
Put simply Joelle inspires young athletes of all ability levels to engage in regular physical activity and challenge themselves whilst learning new skills, forming friendships and having fun. Joelle holds the following accreditations: Bachelor of Education (physical education) Gymnastics Australia Coach (Intermediate) Ballet, Tap, Jazz Teaching Diploma After 15 experience teaching and working on International sporting events such as the Olympics & Commonwealth Games Joelle took leave to raise her young family of 3 children.
Utilising her skills and passion to engage children in sport Joelle introduced a new creative program combining elements of Aerobic Gymnastics and dance that caters for students of all ability levels into a local school at lunchtime free of charge. It proved so popular that each term more students enrolled and more lunch/before/after school sessions had to be introduced to cater for the growing numbers. What started as a lunchtime activity 3 years ago turned into coaching multiple teams at multiple schools to compete in the Gymnastics NSW Aeroschools State Championships. The highlight having one team qualify to compete at Gymnastics Australia Nationals in Bendigo where they received a silver medal.
To gain government grants to keep the program going and delivered in schools without cost to parents Joelle had to form a club and affiliate with Gymnastics NSW. Joelle now coaches at 3 schools and is especially valued by staff/parents for her unique ability to engage students with additional needs. Joelle goes above and beyond spending extra hours with athletes to ensure they’re prepared & confident to perform, sourcing uniforms, choreographing routines, cutting music & footage and finding inventive ways to fundraise so as to lower costs to parents for competition fees, uniforms, transport etc. Joelle teaches at small schools of average socioeconomic backgrounds and limited facilities however produces teams able to compete alongside big established clubs with high end training facilities etc. Ultimately Joelle’s enthusiasm and encouraging coaching philosophy is what keeps the athletes coming back each term for more.
Nominated by Michael Maguire, husband
14. Sam Hill - Female - Hillbillies Equestrian Centre - NT
Sam is a dedicated coach. She is the only horse riding facility in Alice that offers many experiences including, jumping, dressage, gymkhana, trail riding. She caters for all ages, disability groups and lately has been involved with war veterans getting up close and personal with horses. Sam holds holiday programs for kids to learn to rise as well and horse knowledge and equipment care. She has helped regime race horses and also helped people new to owning their own horse with training. I know she would love to be able to offer her coaching at night due to our extreme weather in Alice. The money would be a great help to install lights on her arena.... but she may have better plans. I hope she would be considered for this amazing award.
Nominated by Amanda Richmond, one of her students
15 Claudio Chiappari - Male - Melville Water Polo Club - WA
Claudio first came to Melville two years ago from Italy. He was keen to coach the girl junior teams but he felt his English was not good enough. He came to every game as a spectator to watch the girls and went to school to learn English. He finally felt comfortable enough to coach independently. The girls had not had a dedicated coach for many years. Claudio brings to each training session skills, humour and hard work. The girls have stepped up and all have improved so much. He expects a lot from the girls and they train most days but they have seen how dedication and hard work can bring success and improved their ranking at the last nationals competition. Claudio gives a huge amount of his time and is always on pool deck with a huge smile encouraging the teams. Melville are very lucky to have found such a dedicated coach to lead, improve the skills and the love for the sport of water polo. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award.
Nominated by Lee Simes, parent of a player
16. Karyn Kelly - Female - Innovation (calisthenics) - SA
When calisthenics was first introduced to the Masters games in 2012, Karyn put her hand up to start coaching one of SA's first Masters team. Karyn has developed the team from 12 members to now 22 members ranging from 30 - 58 years of age. Karyn has the patience of a saint accepting and encouraging all abilities to perform to their best. We have a lovely, happy cohesive team due to Karyn's commitment to the sport and Innovation Calisthenics club. Before 2012 there was no competition for masters in SA. Now we have approx 8-10 competing teams in SA and growing steadily each year. This is all due to coaches like Karyn who go above and beyond in our sport. Karyn has successfully taken a masters team to every Pan Pac Calisthenics competition on the Gold Coast. She not only coaches but also competes with the team which is a great feat in itself. Karyn is a true ambassador for Innovation and South Australia in calisthenics and would be a truly worthy recipient of this award.
Nominated by Sue Horwood, team member
17. John Martin - Male - Runcorn Horse and Pony Club - QLD
John has been a member of Runcorn Pony Club for 25 years in 2018. He came from a non-horse background but when his daughter showed an interest, John who was in his 40’s at the time also learnt to ride a horse. John has spent a good part of the past 25 years instructing at the pony club as well as giving up his weekends to judge and course build at many Pony Clubs within and outside of our Zone. He is a long term member of the management committee, Chief Instructor and on the committee for the Zone and State. John’s daughter gave Pony Club away over 15 years ago, but his interest and commitment to the club and sport has never waived. He is truly deserving of this accolade.
Nominated by Wendy Eldred, co-committee member
18. Leo Lahey - Male - Tuggeranong Bulldogs Junior AFL - ACT
The Tuggeranong Bulldogs would like to nominate Leo Lahey for Clubbies Coach of the Year. Over the last four years at the Club, Leo has drawn upon his extensive experience as a State Representative Player, a Level 1 Senior Coach and Junior coach to bring a new perspective to coaching and has acted as a mentor to the other parent coaches in the Club. Leo is a great relationship builder, communicator and life teacher. His messages to players go beyond being just about the game.
From day one the kids knew what Leo was about. His honesty and approachability sees kids from all age groups come up to him at training just to say hi. He coaches individually and collectively resulting in a team focused environment where all players are acknowledged and feel valued for what they bring to the team. He instils confidence in his players to be brave on the field and take risks. Finds a positive in every situation and uses it to reinforce his game/training message to build belief in his players. An inspiring motivator, his players immediately respond through a sense of mutual loyalty built up over the years. Leo has always been committed to increasing participation in AFL.
Always searching for opportunities for kids to be able to play, he introduced the Kick Start Program in the Club. Through this initiative, in this year alone, eight kids that would not have otherwise played football have been able to join the Club. He also nominated the first ever female to the ACT under 12s development squad and has been a strong advocate for the establishment of a junior female development program. His passion and dedication to his team and the Club means that win or lose every kid comes off the ground smiling at the end of the game. He regularly receives positive comments from opposition Clubs about the positive attitude of his players, which is a true reflection of his coaching. Leo makes football fun. The players love him, the parents love him and the opposition respect him. He is an all-round honest top bloke whose integrity and commitment is without question which is why he is a deserved winner of Coach of the Year.
Nominated by Kellie Hogan, club vice president
19. Nathan Davis - Male - The Braves Baseball Club - WA
Nathan, or ND as he known at the club, has played baseball for many years and is passionate about the game. He is working to grow the uptake of the sport in the junior levels of our club and this year has three Little League teams he is overseeing and mentoring, coaching one of them. He has also taken the best of those players to the Little League Club Championships, where in spite of losing every game, the children have had a fantastic time and grown as players. He coaches our Junior League team and is on both the club and charter committees. He will be coaching the Little League charter team, bringing together 3 clubs in our area to compete at State level. His wife is very understanding as most of his week is spent either coaching or playing. ND's coaching style is incredibly buoyant and the kids give their best for him each game. When the team is losing he keeps their spirits up and when they win it's done gracefully. ND also coaches higher grade teams and plays himself. He's always the life and soul of any social event we have at the club and makes the club a better place for being around. Whilst I am the one nominating him and glad to do so, the suggestion to nominate came through parents at the club.
Nominated by Samantha McGahan, club committee member
20. Hayley Stevenson - Female - Wilston Grange Triathlon Club - QLD
Hayley is the Head Coach and President of the Wilston Grange Triathlon Club. She works tirelessly to get the best out of her athletes and herself. She is up early 7 days a week to coach a group of 40+ triathletes, (mostly middle aged members, who work full time and have young families) and wakes around the 3.30am mark to get her own personal triathlon training done prior. She works full time, has two sons and a husband. Her day job is very important and stressful, working in Child Safety for the Department of Education. Triathlon is a big part of all our lives and Hayley helps foster an amazing culture within our Brisbane North club – from its humble beginnings as an offshoot to the Wilston Grange Football Club, to now one of the most popular triathlon clubs in Brisbane. We swim, we bike and we run and most of all we have fun. Hayley writes each session to ensure the fun part happens which keeps all her athletes motivated to wake up and train, to see good friends each morning and importantly lead by example to all our young children.
It is awesome to have a strong female leadership within our club. We are fortunate to have three great coaches in our club, two of them females. One of the best things about Hayley is how kind yet disciplined and mentally strong she is. She doesn't have much time leading a very busy life (sleep deprived most days!) but she always has time for us, her athletes, and her club. Hayley set up the club for the community. It has never been and never will be about money. It is very rare for someone to turn up to the club and never return again, as Hayley makes everyone feel welcome and a valued part of our club.
Nominated by Sandy Azzopardi, athlete and fellow Board member