Victorian elite coaching co-ordinator Brian McFadyen will be switching to a new home within a month after winning appointment today as Tasmania's new cricket coach.
In a move that formally marks the end of Greg Shipperd's 11-year reign at the helm of the Tasmanian team, McFadyen has been tied to a deal that will see him take over the post until at least the end of the 2004-05 season.
"We are confident that, in Brian McFadyen, we have secured a coach who will take Tasmanian cricket forward and play a leadership role in developing the blueprint for the development of sport in the state," said Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) Chairman, Denis Rogers, in announcing the decision at a press conference in Hobart this afternoon.
"We believe Brian has the vision, coaching skills and leadership attributes to take the team and Tasmanian cricket to the next level," he added.
Shipperd had been considered an early favourite to retain the position on the back of a spectacular late season rally that saw the Tasmanians qualify for a berth in the 2001-02 Pura Cup Final.
Added to his claims was the distinction of having guided the Tigers into three Sheffield Shield/Pura Cup finals matches in all; renowned skills as one of the most meticulously prepared coaches in Australia; and strong support from the state's players which peaked at the Tigers' end-of-season awards ceremony a fortnight ago when several key members of the squad spoke passionately in his defence.
But McFadyen's growing reputation as one of Australian cricket's finest strategists; his tactical acumen; and his involvement in helping Victoria to reach two successive Pura Cup finals in 1999-2000 and 2000-01 ultimately swayed the decision in his favour.
"I'm very excited about this opportunity," said McFadyen this afternoon.
"I'd like to help stimulate the playing group and like to see everybody really enjoying their cricket and maximising their own potential. If they can do that individually, and if we can do that collectively, we'll have a lot of success.
"It's a very good group," he added of the playing list that has made Tasmania one of the best-performed states in first-class competition over recent years.
"It (contains) exciting talent with some younger guys coming through who have been most impressive.
"There's also certainly a foundation that's already been laid by the second half of last season. I think the players will already all be very excited about what potentially lies ahead next year."
McFadyen's coaching background most recently includes four years as an assistant with the Victorian state team but has extended to take in stewardship of the Victorian ACB Cup team, and a number of Victorian underage sides. He also operated as Australia's assistant coach during the recently-completed VB Series of one-day international matches against New Zealand and South Africa.
As a player, he was a member of the South Australian and Victorian state squads and won the Bradman Medal as Adelaide's best first grade cricketer in his role as a right arm paceman for Port Adelaide in 1990-91.
Before injuries forced an early end to his career, he was additionally a member of Australia's team at the Youth World Cup of 1988 and toured New Zealand with an Academy side two years later.
The 33-year-old already shares connections with two of Tasmania's most experienced players in Jamie Cox and David Saker.
Along with Cox, he was included in the elite group of 16 cricketers handpicked as the first-ever inductees of the Academy back in 1988. His close bond with Saker meanwhile stems back to his intensive work with Victoria's core group of fast bowlers early in his association with the Bushrangers.
Shipperd, who is still in contention to complete an interchange with McFadyen by taking over as Victoria's new coach, expressed disappointment at the outcome but wished his successor good fortune.
"It has been a wonderful journey and honour to have played for, coached and (helped) administer Tasmanian (teams) for 14 seasons. I am satisfied that I have given my all to the challenges that were presented," he said in a short statement released late this afternoon.
"I am naturally disappointed at not retaining my post; however, I wish the new coach and especially the players great success in the future."
Over 30 applications in total were received for the position after the TCA acted more than three months ago to appoint a selection committee to review the Tigers' coaching set-up.
Aside from the claims of McFadyen and Shipperd, the committee also closely scrutinised the potential suitability of current Australian Cricket Academy mentor Wayne Phillips when the field narrowed to eight for the final round of interviews earlier this month.
The five-man selection panel (consisting of TCA chief executive David Johnston, Australian Cricketers' Association chief Tim May, legendary former Tasmanian and Australian player David Boon, and TCA Board members Geoff Rowlands and Tony Harrison) is also believed to have included former state captains Brian Davison and Roger Woolley among the group invited to the closing stages of the interview process.
McFadyen, who had also been a frontrunner for head coaching positions in both Queensland and Victoria, was ultimately offered the position in the middle of last week.
He will be formally relocating to Tasmania before the end of May.