Rob Walter has quit his job as coach of the Titans in South Africa to move to New Zealand and coach the Otago Volts instead. Walter, who was also a conditioning coach with the South African national team previously, will begin his two-year term with the New Zealand domestic side in September. He will take over from Nathan King, who had also been a member of South Africa's support staff between 2009 and 2012.
Walter is the third person South African cricket has lost to New Zealand since June. Pete de Wet, chief executive officer of the Dolphins, is going to head Central Districts, and the South African national team logistics manager Riaan Muller took the same job with the New Zealand team.
"It was a very tough decision because I have had immense joy," Walter told ESPNcricinfo. "I felt for my growth as a coach it would be good for me to experience coaching in a different environment. Like any coach, I aspire to coaching a national team and through conversations with various people I could see that in the short-term coaching the Proteas was not going to happen for me. By coaching in New Zealand maybe I can put myself in a better position to do that in the long-term. I can't say I am leaving for lack of opportunity because I got the Titans job early in my career."
Jacques Faul, the Titans' chief executive officer, paid glowing tribute to Walter's work with the South African franchise. "Rob pioneered a new spirit in the Titans cricketing family," he said. "He has transformed the franchise in many ways. It was evident in the way the franchise batting improved the past two seasons, as our top- and middle-order produced 22 centuries in two seasons. We also improved our consistency in the bowling department.
"It is indeed a dark day for Titans cricket to lose a coach of Rob's stature. We want to pay tribute to his enormous contribution. We wish him and his family well when they embark on a new chapter of his cricketing odyssey in Otago, New Zealand."
Mike Coggan, Otago Cricket's chief executive, welcomed Walter's appointment. "We're thrilled to secure the services of Rob for at least the next two years," Coggan said. "Rob is highly respected and will certainly add a competitive edge and an entirely new learning environment for the Otago Volts group and our wider staff. His experience and desire is first class."