Business as usual despite Charlesworth quitting: White Featured

Wednesday, 26 March 2014 17:52

Wollongong hockey star Tristan White says Kookaburras coach Ric Charlesworth won't let 2014 turn into a farewell tour after the legendary coach announced on Tuesday his intention to stand down after this year's Commonwealth Games.

Charlesworth, who coached the Hockeyroos to consecutive Olympic gold medals in 1996 and 2000, took the reins of the Kookaburras in 2009 and guided them to victories in every major tournament - barring the London Olympics - in his five-year reign.

That includes World Cup and Commonwealth Games titles and four consecutive Champions Trophies.

The world No 1 Kookaburras will be among the favourites for gold at the 2016 Olympics but the 61-year-old, despite concerted pleas from Hockey Australia to stay on, said he doesn't have the necessary drive to continue to Rio de Janeiro.

"I think coaches can stay for too long in the job and teams need to be continually refreshed and if you are in the job you have to have the life and energy to do that," he said.

"I have that at the moment for this job but I don't imagine it would have the same importance for me if I was to continue for another couple of years."

White credits Charlesworth with changing his attitude to the sport after handing him his national debut in 2012.

"In Australian sport he's one of the ultimate coaches," White said.

"You see everything he's done and it's pretty amazing to be coached by that type of guy.

"He knows how to get the best out of people mentally.

"I was getting in a bit of trouble on and off the field and he's changed my attitude in terms of my training and my commitment to the game.

"I think he's turned me from someone that was just playing the sport because I was good at it to someone who really wants to keep playing and have a long career in hockey.

"That's his strength as a coach."

Sure to go down as one of Australian sport's best coaches, Charlesworth will be hard to replace but White said the veteran mentor won't let his departure distract the Kookaburras as they prepare for a World Cup and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow later this year.

"He always says he doesn't want us to win these tournaments for him, he always speaks about being the best team we can be," White said.

"There's also a lot of other guys in the team who might be finishing up soon and we want to send everyone out on a high but we always want to perform as well as we can all the time.

"It's hard to replace Ric, he's one of a kind and you might not get a coach like that for another 50 years.

"But whoever comes in the structures are in place. They'll bring their own ideas and we'll still be successful."

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