Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

NZ coaches: Where are the personalities?

New Zealand Black Caps coach Mike Hesson. Photo / Brett Phibbs.
New Zealand Black Caps coach Mike Hesson. Photo / Brett Phibbs.

The television cameras zoom in on the coaches box. You might see a rant, a yawn or the sort of impassive projection Tana Umaga has delivered at the Blues.

Stateside, it feels mandatory for coaches to do their scone in NBA, NFL or MLB matches-men like Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella who unloaded on every official within earshot before attracting the attention of those who were not.

Five star blowups before, during and after matches are frequent.

What about coaches operating with New Zealand sides and the sort of perception we get from their media appearances.

Do they fit into the blazing rocket or the lasting messages group, those who have immediate success which tails away or others like Ron Cheatley and Dick Tonks whose accomplishments endure.

Let's look at the major sports and a few on the periphery.

Noeline Taurua: Her utterances are amusing as she darts from thought to thought, making you curious if she is equally random when she addresses her Southern Steel squad.

She had great success with the Magic and now the Steel who are the only unbeaten side in the trans-Tasman league. It makes you wonder why she is not in a national role.

Mike Hesson: His youthful appearance was deceptive and he described himself as a pretty boring sort of a bloke. He had an uneasy start as the Ross Taylor/Brendon McCulluam captaincy played out and there was a possum-feel about him trapped in the spotlight. His messages were delivered though through the actions of McCullum's mob and the way they played their cricket.

Stephen Kearney: Looked defensive in his top-table stints but immediate success at the World Cup in 2008 outweighed that initial caution. Parallel work with the troubled Eels compounded his hesitant projection and he's looked as awkward at interviews as the Kiwis have been in their infrequent wins for Kearney against Australia. A Four Nations triumph against that enemy helped as well as his decision to bypass a lacklustre Isaac Luke this year.

Steve Hansen: Not the most forthcoming bloke initially. There was an element of give 'em nothing in his conversations as he cast an untrusting eye at the fourth estate intrusions. However Hansen knew he had to ride with the tussles and use that stage and his team's success, to explain and coerce the radio, newspaper and television conduits to the nation. He's used his dry wit and natural take on life to permeate his conversation and engage his audiences.

Anthony Hudson: Hustled down here from Bahrain to oversee age-group programmes and the national soccer side. A lack of matches and results sent the All Whites into a rankings dive while Hudson also fell foul of FIFA for fielding an ineligible player at the Olympic qualifying Pacific Games last year. Is frustrated about the lack of drive in NZ soccer circles and that exasperation seems to permeate his persona.

Paul Henare: The Tall Blacks and new Breakers coach has come through the system without appearing to pick up those ugly sideline histrionics which are so tedious. He understands how basketball is rising in popularity and how he, his staff and his teams can boost that optimism. Henare projects strongly and is a media magnet because he engages and fights his corner with strong arguments and emotion.

Hamish Willcox: Don't think I've seen or heard him but have read a little about his work with Peter Burling and Blair Tuke who are gold medal favourites for Rio. Willcox was a 470 champ in the early 80's and his daughter Anna represented NZ at the Sochi Winter Olympics and son Daniel is heading for Rio. Must be doing something right even his words are only directed at his crews.

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