KEVIN GETTINS is the first to admit he's taken on the New Zealand women's softball team's coaching job three years earlier than planned ... but there was a carrot.
"There's a good chance softball will be an Olympic sport again by 2020 so Olympic qualification is the challenge.
"Those Olympics will be in Japan and of course Japan are the current women's world champions at junior and senior level, so they're pretty confident," the Hawke's Bay 2014 coach of the year said.
Whether Gettins, the first Bay coach to be appointed head coach of the White Sox, will still be at the helm in 2020 will be determined after the July 2016 World Series in Canada.
"It's a short-term appointment and I will be up for review after that tournament. I've got 14 months to prepare," Gettins, 52, said.
Part of that preparation will be his head coach role with the Junior White Sox at their August World Series in Oklahoma. Previously he was assistant coach of the juniors when they finished sixth in South Africa in 2011 and fourth in Toronto in 2013.
"Some of these younger girls will be ready for the step up to the next level so they can create some good competition," Gettins said.
"With the likes of Canada, Chinese Taipei and Venezuela we're in the pool of death.
"Our buildup has been limited because of the New Zealand weather at this time of the year but we've certainly made the most of the time we've had together."
The multiple national championship-wining coach with Hawke's Bay age group teams and the 2014 national interclubs-winning coach with the Hawke's Bay Dodgers has heard up to 30 teams could be competing in Canada next year.
"Everyone wants to have a crack at Olympic qualification and as part of that process next year's worlds will be open.
"We won't set specific goals for that until we get more details of the draw but a top-10 finish will be good. New Zealand finished eighth at the last one."
The national general manager of operations for Ravensdown, Gettins will become the fourth member of his family to pull on a White Sox uniform.
His wife, Charmaine, is a former White Sox infielder while his daughters, catcher Melanie and pitcher Courtney, are expected to be in his first White Sox training squad, to be announced on July 7.
Melanie has played at three senior World Series and a junior one in the past, and Courtney one of each.
"It's a totally unusual situation to have two daughters in a New Zealand team you are coaching but at that level you manage it.
"I know there will be no shortage of advice at the dinner table. You are mindful of what is discussed at home and there is a degree of professionalism involved," Gettins said.
Up to 10 of the White Sox training squad players Gettins will name next month will be overseas-based.
"It does make the preparation challenging but I've sounded some of them out and it's good they are prepared to come home and give something back to the game here," Gettins said.
While his Junior White Sox manager, Aroha Metcalf, will step up with him to the senior ranks after the Oklahoma tournament, Gettins won't name his assistant coaches until later in the year.
"The Junior White Sox are the immediate priority now until I finish up in Oklahoma."
Gettins was mindful of the need to improve the White Sox world ranking.
"We won't get businesses interested in sponsorship on a bigger scale until the results improve; that's the reality."
He said he was grateful for the support from his employers when accepting the White Sox role.
"Ravensdown were fantastic ... I'm very fortunate."
With his increased international coaching commitments, Gettins, a former Hutt Valley and Hawke's Bay representative player, said his chances of returning to national Evergreens tournament play after a two-year absence were slim.
"Although because Grant Julian's batting form has been so poor at the last two tournaments I might have to make an effort to get there and show him the way again," Gettins quipped, referring to the regular tussle he has had with Julian over the years for the Bay's top batter award.