BALLARAT Pride has gone back to the future with the appointment of Jo Dash as head coach ahead of the 2013 Victorian Netball League season.
Dash, who stepped down 12 months ago for health reasons, was appointed to the dual role of head coach and championship division coach by University of Ballarat Pride’s board of management.
The 2012 championship coach, Daniel Cooke, will be Dash’s deputy, while Victorian men’s state netball coach Mark Melnikas will take on the role as division coach. Kerry Lightfoot retains the job of coach for the 19-under team.
The appointments were announced following UB Pride’s netball camp at the Ballarat Netball Association headquarters at Llanberris Reserve this weekend. Pride administrator Jordan O’Keefe said the club’s management panel, chaired by Annie McCartin, had given Dash more support to allow her to concentrate on her return to coaching.
“Jo, in the past, has done a lot of this on her own,” O’Keefe said. “Now there is a management panel that is as passionate as Jo is.
“Jo has spearheaded our netball camp and has worked closely with the new division one coach, and each coach has worked with the entire squad.”
O’Keefe said the Ballarat-based club, which draws its players from across western regional Victoria, still had serious challenges on the court but was in a strong position off the court.
The improved performance of the 19-under side gave the club confidence that things would turn for the top-level VNL Championship team, he said.
“Off the court, Pride is streets ahead of other VNL clubs in terms of sponsorship and profile. What the University of Ballarat does for Pride is unlike what any other club in the competition has,” he saidexplained.
“It is tougher for a regional club, and we still are the only truly regional-based club.”
The club has also announced its captains ahead of the VNL pre-season competition, beginning Wednesday night and runing over three weeks, with Johanna Dash named skipper of the Championship division team, Katie Williams for division one, and Mikayla George for the 19-under team.