Kuggeleijn out of coaching and back to teaching

Lynn McConnell

June 20, 2001

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Northern Districts will go into the new summer without Chris Kuggeleijn as their coach.

The former New Zealand representative has taken up a teaching position at Hamilton Boys' High School and felt the prospect of spending summer holidays with his family and the development of his wife Jenny's career as a freelance photographer were more important to him than continuing in the coaching role he has pursued since 1996.

Beating Canterbury in the 1998 final of the Shell Cup was one of the highlights of his involvement with the ND team, a team he played 82 games for over 16 summers.

That summer of 1997/98 was probably his most successful with the side as it won the Max League as well and played the final of the Shell Trophy.

"It would have been nice to have won something last summer, but we didn't. I thought we had the team capable of doing it," he said.

"There are a lot of reasons for giving it up. For a starter I now have a full-time job. The first four years with ND were on six month contracts while last year I had a nine month contract.

"I've always taught and have enjoyed that. I will still be involved in cricket with school teams and will be available for work with ND. But it was just the whole time commitment," he said.

In 12 months time at the end of his contract he would have been left looking overseas to continue his coaching if he wanted to continue in that line. He had not applied for the position of New Zealand coach.

"After weighing all the options up I decided to take this job," he said of his physical education position.

Kuggeleijn said he had no regrets about his decision and felt there was a good blend of youth and experience in the Northern Districts side at the moment.

He said he was delighted that Grant Bradburn has regained his place in the New Zealand team.

"Grant works harder at his game than anyone I know and his selection shows what good old-fashioned work ethics can achieve."

Observing the state of modern cricket, Kuggeleijn said that players did need to be more self-sufficient. At the moment players had been presented with a lot of things to help them play the game, but the minute they struck a problem, they ran around looking for someone to help them out, rather than working more things out for themselves.

"Individuals have to stand up and to think for themselves. They don't do any thinking for themselves," he said.

Compared to his own time playing cricket, when coaches were not associated with teams, he said, "We were not as au fait with technical matters, injuries and rehabilitation but we thought more about our cricket."

Kuggeleijn did not have a problem with a return in part to that sort of regime by the national side as long as everyone was going in the same direction.

As much as on field success had been a highlight for him as ND coach, Kuggeleijn said seeing the development of players not only as players, but also as people, had been most satisfying.

Players like Daryl Tuffey, Joseph Yovich and Bradburn were just some who had come through an impressed him in that manner.

ND chief executive John Turkington expects to be able to name a new coach within a fortnight.

ND had been aware that Kuggeleijn had been looking at other employment options and he would be missed after the successes he had achieved in the last five years.

"We've been in the top three in both competitions for the last five years in a row, and no-one else has.

"We understand his reasons for changing and we wish all the best for the future.

"We are looking at options for us in the coaching fraternity," Turkington said.

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