Ireland’s national women’s Hockey coach, Gene Muller, has today announced his decision to retire from Irish Hockey.
South African born Muller took over the reins from Riet Kuper in October 2006 to become Ireland’s first full-time women’s coach taking the team through a period of dramatic change during his time. Among his many achievements Muller moved the team to a Central Preparation Program to engage in a more professional set up and secured Ireland women their first ever Olympic Qualifier final.
Commenting on his decision Muller stated “I have known for some time that this Olympic cycle would be my last for Ireland. I have thoroughly enjoyed coaching the women’s national team. It has been a positive and rewarding experience. I want to thank the staff of the IHA for their support during my tenure, specifically Angus Kirkland, Fiona Mills, Dave Passmore and Katie Roche.”
I want to acknowledge the contribution and support of the Irish Sports Council, the Sports Council of Northern Ireland, the Irish Institute of Sport and the Sports Institute of Northern Ireland. I want to thank our team’s sponsor Electric Ireland, for their backing of the women’s national team. Specifically I want to thank Padraig McManus, Brid Horan & Lisa Browne for their support to our team.”
Muller who moved from Canada to take up the position will now take some time out before making any decision about his future and will remain working with the Assocation until the end of May “I was fortunate to work with a highly professional national program support staff. I sincerely want to thank Karen Ryan, Mark Kilgallon, Daragh Sheridan, Rudi Wortmann, Guy Garrett, Lucas Piccioli, Nigel Henderson, Kate Kirby and Bronwen Masters for their contribution to our programme. A special word of thanks to our team manager Sally Ann Fanagan, assistant coach, Denis Pritchard and the program coordinator Joan Morgan. I value their contribution, friendship, and support immensely. I was lucky to work with them.
“My last acknowledgment is to the players of the Irish national hockey squad. Thank you for your commitment, passion, and efforts over the last few years. You always treated me graciously and respectfully. I wish you only the best in the future and will follow you with the enthusiasm of a typical Irish fan.”
High performance director Dave Passmore was keen to pay tribute to the coach “Gene has brought a high level of organisation to the women’s program which has positively impacted the development of both athletes and staff. His commitment to the women’s program has been exceptional and this hard work is evident in the progress the team has made especially in the past 18 months. I would like to wish Gene and his family well for the future”
The national women’s team will, after a break from International duty, continue to train for their summer fixtures including both the Investec Cup in London from June 6-10 and the Celtic Cup taking place in Lisnagarvey June 29 – July 1, 2012.
Irish Hockey chief executive Angus Kirkland spoke highly of the contribution Gene Muller had made to both the National side and the Irish Hockey Association through his work “The Irish Hockey Association sadly accepts Coach Gene Muller’s resignation. Gene has been totally committed both the Irish women’s squad and the Irish Hockey Association for the past six years. In reaching the final of the Olympic Qualifier he has taken this team further than any other coach before him. We wish him all the best for his future endeavours.”
Irish captain Alex Speers paid tribute on behalf of the National Women’s Squad “On behalf of all the girls in the squad I would like to thank Gene for all his work over the last five and a half years and in particular the last 18 months of CPP. His vision, drive and belief in this group of players brought about CPP and his hard work, commitment and dedication brought us to the final last Sunday. As captain it has been a pleasure to work with Gene and we wish him, Elise and Neev all the best in the future.”