THE former umpires boss of AFL Sydney will take charge of the whistleblowers throughout the region.
The Ballarat Football Umpires Association has appointed Simon Harrison as senior coach for the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
Harrison, who lives in Bendigo, took charge of the BFUA umpires for their first training session last Monday.
He said the key to attracting more football umpires was to make it enjoyable. “Ultimately I want to help develop the group in Ballarat and help them be the best they can be,” Harrison said.
“But I also want them to enjoy their footy and really be part of umpiring. If that happens everything else will fall into place.
“I’m coming in with no preconceived ideas, which I think is a good thing. Coming in as an outsider with experience from outside can only help.”
Harrison had a four-year stint as senior coach for AFL Sydney, during a time when that competition expanded from two divisions to six. Before that he worked with the AFL in developing umpiring standards in the eastern suburbs leagues of Melbourne.
“We are extremely fortunate to have signed a coach as talented as Simon to the coaching panel,” umpires chairman Jamie Love said.
“What is most exciting for the association is that Simon’s extensive background as AFL match day coach and umpire development in Sydney will give BFUA umpires a chance to access the skill sets and training programs employed by those umpiring at the elite level.”
The BFUA provides umpires for the Ballarat Football League, in addition to the Central Highlands and Maryborough Castlemaine district leagues.
Harrison, 35, said part of his coaching focus with the umpires was improved fitness.
BFUA umpire training is at City Oval on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6pm.