It’s been non-stop action for Mark Evans since he stepped in the Sportscover Clubbies ring to claim the 2019 Coach of the Year award.
Inside Sport caught up with the inspirational boxing mentor after his return from the World Championships in Russia with the Australian women’s team, and checked on the health of his passport.
“Yeah, it’s always up to date and within arm’s reach,” the well-travelled Evans laughs.
Since we last saw the former boxer he’s been landing punches for the sport at all levels.
His Impact Academy club in the hinterland town of Cooroy took six boxers to New Zealand for six wins. At the Australian U19 Championships on the Gold Coast, Queensland came away with a 22-gold and 11-silver medal haul. It’s just another feather in the cap of the coach whose role (one of many) is to mentor up and coming Queensland talent. The next focus for Evans is the selection pathways for Tokyo 2020. His talent for turning out champions is all the more remarkable given the Impact Boxing Academy was little more than a shed in the backyard of his property 14 years ago.
But it’s not his success with elite athletes that caught the eye of the Clubbies panel and voters – it was the dream of making a difference in the lives of youngsters. The ring has become a life-changing space for many troubled youth and those with special needs where the Evans mantra of respect, confidence and self-worth has found fertile ground. It’s here that Evans continues to work with victims of bullying and with teens suffering mental illness. In an earlier interview Boxer Keiran Whitehead explained his coach’s extraordinary commitment: “He not only guides and mentors these kids but opens his home to them for accommodation and meals.”
With nominations open for the 2020 Sportscover Clubbies Awards we asked Evans whether all the fanfare was worth it.
“One hundred percent,” he shoots back. “(The win) went viral on social media – everyone in our network shared it around. I still have people stop me in the street to congratulate me. It did put us on the map, I think.
“I took my daughter down for the presentation luncheon and she was just filled with pride.”
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