New hockey coach Muller looks to 2012

THE Irish Hockey Association yesterday appointed Gene Muller as the new women’s head coach and director of player performance.

Muller joins Irish hockey from Field Hockey Canada, where he was the men’s national team coach. During his five years there, he narrowly missed out on qualifying the Canadian men’s team for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, losing by only a goal in the final of the qualifying tournament to Argentina. Since then, he has brought the team to a world ranking of 16th.

Prior to that, Muller was head coach to the South African women’s national team, where he coached the team to the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Muller joins the IHA in a new, full-time, permanent role of women’s national head coach and director of player performance, designed to achieve success in Ireland’s national teams, with the London 2012 Olympic Games as a key target.

The role has on-pitch coaching responsibilities for the senior and development women’s national teams and also overall responsibility for the IHA’s junior age group (JAG) squads, whose national coaches he will line manage.

Muller will report directly to high performance director Dave Passmore and indirectly to the IHA’s chief executive Paul Varian.

“We are excited at the prospect of Gene joining us,” said Varian yesterday. “Gene possesses the strength and depth of skills and experience that is needed to carry out such a broad role, with far-reaching responsibilities.

“He has coached at the highest level and been to an Olympic Games, which is a clear, non-negotiable goal with our national teams. His vision for the development of our national teams fits extremely well with our high performance plans and he has an enthusiasm and belief in Irish hockey that matches our ambitions.”

Passmore said: “Gene is highly regarded within the coaching fraternity and will bring a wealth of high level experience to players of all ages.”

Muller said: “I am excited about the prospect of coaching the Irish women’s hockey team.”

Muller will commence employment with the IHA in early October, pending work permit and relocation issues, and will be based in Dublin.

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