Netball: Magic appoint Australian as new head coach

The Waikato-Bay of Plenty Netball Zone has announced Australian Julie Fitzgerald as the new head coach of the Magic. Photo / Anthony Au-Yeung.
The Waikato-Bay of Plenty Netball Zone has announced Australian Julie Fitzgerald as the new head coach of the Magic. Photo / Anthony Au-Yeung.

The Waikato-Bay of Plenty Netball Zone has announced Australian Julie Fitzgerald as the new head coach of the Magic.

Fitzgerald, who will take over the reins from the outgoing Noeline Taurua, has signed a two-year contract to the end of the 2015 ANZ Championship season and said the opportunity was too good to miss.

"I am excited to be beginning this new chapter in my coaching career and to have the opportunity to build on the success of such an established team as Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic and assist with the developing of the future coaching and playing talent is fantastic, I can't wait to begin,'' she said in a statement.

Waikato Bay of Plenty Netball Zone chief executive Tim Hamilton said the zone was delighted to have secured the signature of such an experienced coach.

"We did a thorough search for the best netball coach available to lead Magic into its next era and to build on the outstanding success the team has achieved in its history,'' he said.

"To have secured someone of Julie's calibre is quite an achievement and we are thrilled with the appointment.''

Fitzgerald was the head coach of the ANZ Championship winning NSW Swifts in the inaugural year of the competition in 2008, a position she held until 2011. She then joined the Australian Institute of Sport as the head coach of netball.

In 2012, Fitzgerald took up a role as the assistant coach of the Australian Diamonds netball team and retained that role for their tour to England at the beginning of this year.

Among her many coaching awards over a period stretching more than 30 years, Fitzgerald was named Netball Australia coach of the year in 2004 and 2006.

Fitzgerald will have input into appointing further team management support staff in the coming weeks.

Waikato Bay of Plenty Netball Zone board chair John Wiltshire said replacing Taurua was always going to be tough.

"Julie has big boots to fill, but we believe she's more than up for the challenge,'' he said.

"In appointing Julie, we have a coach that has an outstanding background in coaching, a successful record to boot and a proven ability to work to not only develop talent but to build winning teams.

"In addition, a significant part of Julie's role will be to lead the education and support of coaches and support people within the zone's high performance programme ensuring consistent messages are delivered to all representative coaches within the centres that make up the zone. This is a new role and with Julie's experience and knowledge we are looking forward to her having a significant impact on the future development of netball in the zone.''

- APNZ

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