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Hager quits as NZ hockey coach under cloud

Australian Mark Hager will coach the Great Britain and England women's hockey teams after ending a successful decade in charge of New Zealand.

Hager quits as NZ hockey coach under cloud

Australian Mark Hager will coach the Great Britain and England women's hockey teams after ending a successful decade in charge of New Zealand.

Australian Mark Hager's decade of success as New Zealand women's hockey coach has finished under a cloud, announcing his departure to take charge of the Great Britain and England women's teams.

Former Kookaburras playing great Hager will begin his new role immediately, with assistant coach Sean Dancer becoming the Black Sticks' acting head coach.


Hager's methods as coach and the environment in the New Zealand team have been the subject of an independent review after complaints of a heavy-handed approach from the 54-year-old. Details of the review will become public later this month.

He admitted the inquiry played a part in his decision to move.

"It's been a bit tough on my family. I probably now know what top coaches who get paid lots of bucks and get scrutinised weekly go through," he said.

"For me, it was not a very enjoyable experience. That was tough on me and my family and is what's made me reflect on where I'm at.

"There's some good learnings from the review and I'll take them on but I've still got to be me."

Hager said working in the heavily resourced British program excited him and felt the Black Sticks would benefit from a fresh voice in charge.

Hockey NZ acting chairman Shane Collins said Hager was leaving on his own terms and his contribution should be acknowledged.

New Zealand had been ranked outside the world's top 10 when he took charge in 2009 and he has steered them through what is regarded as their best era.

Hager's teams claimed two Olympic fourth placings, two World League finals, a Champions Trophy bronze and a medal of every colour at the Commonwealth Games, including 2018 gold on the Gold Coast.

"We are extremely disappointed to lose one of the world's top coaches," Collins said.

Hager scored 179 goals in 230 Tests for Australia. In his prime, he was regarded as the world's premier striker.

He signed off from playing with a bronze medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and matched that as assistant coach of the Australian men's team at the 2008 Beijing Games.

AAP


AAP




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