Big Movers in Coaching – Dec 13

 In Coach, Contributor

Each week Coach’s Companion brings you 10 big moves from around the world of sports coaching:

10. After last week’s huge flurry of action in football circles, Italian club Napoli finalised one of the pieces of the puzzle by instilling former AC Milan chief Genarro Gattuso as head coach. He takes over from Carlo Ancelotti, who was sacked hours after taking Napoli to the Champions League final 16 with a 4-0 win over Genk.

9. The New York Liberty’s search for a new WNBA head coach seems to be reaching the final stages. One of the founding clubs of the premier female basketball league, the Liberty are said to have narrowed the list of candidates to three. The Liberty chose not to renew the contract of previous coach Katie Smith, who had a record of 17-51 in two seasons as head coach.

8. Politics and sport mixed in a big way this week after Andrea Stramaccioni stood down as coach of Iranian football club Esteghlal. US sanctions on the Islamic republic led to Stramaccioni’s bank account being closed. Hundreds of fans took to the streets in protest, the club manager resigned and threats of impeachment have been bandied about.

7. Ex Chicago Cubs pitcher Mark Prior has been named the new pitching coach of the LA Dodgers. Graduating from his role as the club’s bullpen coach, 39-year-old Prior succeeds Rick Honeycutt, who will step into an advisory role. Josh Bard takes on the role as dodgers bullpen coach, reprising his role from several seasons ago.

6. Willie Taggart will coach Florida Atlantic’s college football program, following his sacking from Florida State. Taggart was owed US$18million from the remainder of his contract with Florida State. “You gotta win fast. I thought we had things going in the right direction and unfortunately we just didn’t get enough time to finish it,” he said of his previous role.

5. After an astonishing 32 years at the one club James Collins is leaving Crewe Alexander. Crewe will be on the lookout for a new head of coaching after Collins joined Wolves as their under 23s head coach. Collins joined Crewe as a nine-year-old in the club’s development academy.

4. Moving to hockey, where the San Jose Sharks have sacked Peter DeBoer after a stretch of winless matches where they were outscored by a cumulative total of 17-5. DeBoer is the only coach to have taken the 1991 expansion club to the Stanley Cup final, where they lost Pittsburgh in 2015-16. Bob Boughner is interim head coach.

3. And staying in the NHL, where Jim Montgomery was sensationally sacked for “unprofessional conduct” amid a winning start to the season. “The Dallas Stars expect of of our employees to act with integrity and exhibit professional behaviour,” his club said in a statement. As a player, Montgomery had a career that spanned 10 seasons.

2. Rachel Balkovec (pictured) has broken ground by becoming the first female hitting coach employed a big league team. Although Balkovec will commence as a minor league consultant, she is tied to the New York Yankees. Studying for her second masters degree, Balkovec has taken an obscure path, working with the Dutch national baseball and softball teams.

1. Ian Foster takes over the world’s most formidable contact sports outfit – New Zealand Rugby’s All Blacks. The All Blacks have appointed Foster, 54, to a two-year term initially. “I feel truly privileged and honoured to be given this opportunity and I can’t wait to lead the team in the next chapter of what is a remarkable legacy,” Foster said.

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