Sport

From TAC Pioneer to new leader

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December 15, 2016

The Pioneers have been without a senior coach for nearly two months, following the sacking of Echuca’s Brett Henderson at the end of the 2016 season.

Rick Coburn has come full-circle since playing in the Bendigo Pioneers’ first TAC Cup match game in 1993.

Twenty three years on, he has returned to take the helm for 2017.

The Pioneers have been without a senior coach for nearly two months, following the sacking of Echuca’s Brett Henderson at the end of the 2016 season.

Coburn has moved into the position following a three-year association with AFL Central Victoria as football development manager, where he helped to develop coaches and players.

He has been instrumental in setting in motion the region’s academy program, which has run successfully throughout the past two years, and has been heavily involved in the specialised football program in place at Bendigo Senior Secondary College.

He has been highly active in promoting education for coaches throughout the region and has previously held the role of senior coach at South Bendigo Football Club from 2007-13.

The level-three AFL accredited coach will become a valued member of the Pioneers’ administration, according to talent manager Steve Sharp.

‘‘His first priority will be getting to know the players and staff and building close relationships,’’ Sharp said.

‘‘He already has a connection with most of the players from his involvement with the academy program and he has a terrific network of coaches around the region.’’

Coburn assumes his new position today and has enjoyed watching the Pioneers’ success during the years.

He looked forward to being involved in any further growth of the club in the coming years.

‘‘It’s a great opportunity and I feel I already have a strong connection with the club,’’ Coburn said.

‘‘I’m looking forward to meeting the players and finding out their strengths and weaknesses and what interests them both inside and outside of football.’’

Coburn added building strong coach-player relationships was a strength of his and he was excited to return to the youth development space with the Pioneers.

‘‘The Pioneers’ basic philosophy is to develop players to their highest level — whether that be AFL or VFL level, or even returning to their local clubs a better player with a greater knowledge of the game,’’ he said.

‘‘We try to build a strong team environment so everyone can achieve their goals.

‘‘Most importantly we want our young players to enjoy their footy and become life long participants of the great game.’’

- Jess Gledhill

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