HOCKEY Irish Hockey’s Senior National Coaches To Go Full Time

Irish Hockey’s Senior National Coaches To Go Full Time

Tuesday, 20 June 2006

The Irish Hockey Association has announced a restructure in the senior personnel of its high performance / national team set-ups that will result in the appointment of full time professional senior national coaches for the first time in the sport’s history.

In a move aimed at strengthening Irish hockey’s bid to qualify its national teams for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and compete in the 2012 London Olympics, the senior national coaching positions will be expanded to include overall responsibility for the on-pitch development of Irish elite hockey talent at all ages. In the new role, the national coaches will have direct responsibility for the coaching of the senior and development squads and line manage the national coaches of the junior age group (JAG) teams. With the new title of Senior National Coach and Director of Player Performance, the two positions (men’s and women’s respectively) will now report directly the IHA’s High Performance Director.

In another important development, the position of High Performance Director, currently served by Dave Passmore, is being focused on a narrower scope in a fulltime, standalone professional position. National coaching responsibilities are being removed from the role, so it can focus purely on the rapidly evolving task on high performance planning and implementation.

With overall accountability for the performance of Irish hockey national teams, the High Performance Director will continue the ongoing strategic development of the IHA’s high performance plans. The role will also develop, implement and manage the structures, systems and tools that are required to facilitate the development Irish hockey’s international squads to their highest potential. This includes the establishment of a robust talent identification programme for the sport, establishment of key sports science / sports medicine service providers and the arrangement of regional training sessions. The role also includes responsibility for the ongoing development of the IHA’s Athlete Support Programme (ASP), which is an initiative designed to provide increased assistance and support to Irish hockey’s international athletes to increase elite athlete longevity.

This new structure replaces the pre-existing system, whereby both national coaches were part-time positions and, in the case of the men’s position, an added responsibility to the High Performance Director’s fulltime appointment.
“Over the past year, it has become very apparent that the volume of work required to effectively implement our high performance plan and achieve the ambitious goals we have set ourselves for our national teams is more than can be sustained under the current high performance structure. Moreover, we are keen to ensure that the development of our international players is as seamless as possible, from U15 talent ID, right up to senior international level. We have therefore realigned our senior personnel structure to introduce these three core positions, that will collectively drive the development of our national teams, both on-pitch and off-pitch.”

The creation of the two fulltime senior coaching/player performance roles has been made possible due to added financial support by the Irish Sports Council.

“The Irish Hockey Association is indebted to the Irish Sports Council for its financial support of these two crucial appointments in Irish hockey,” continued Varian. “The Council has continued to back our ambition and support the professionalism of our plans, initially through the inclusion of hockey in Abbottstown and the extension of carding support to hockey, and now through helping finance these appointments. The Council’s support greatly improves our chances of realising our ultimate goal of qualifying for and competing for medals at Olympic Games and World Cups.”

“We are keen to have these positions filled as soon as possible over the summer to continue our squads’ development for 2007 and 2008,” continued Varian. “We have a wonderful opportunity to build an effective core group of expertise within our high performance team and we will be very thorough in ensuring that we recruit the best possible candidates for both roles.”

Both of these jobs are now advertised on and


For Further Information, Please Contact:
John Dennis, Chairman, Irish Hockey Association
Tel: 021 733 1599; Email: