PREMIERSHIP hero for Ballarat in 2008, senior coach in 2013.
The Ballarat Swans yesterday annointed Ash Baker as its on and off-field leader for next season.
Baker, a six time Greenfield Trophy winner as the Simonds Swans’ best and fairest player, has played 186 senior games at the club.
Ballarat president Shane Manley described the decision to promote Baker as “unanimous”.
“The board of management this week decided Ash ticked so many of the boxes that had been established as the key attributes we were seeking from the new club leader,” Manley said.
“His playing career speaks for itself.
“He has been one of the most respected players in the BFL for over 10 years now, which is a huge start for a new senior coach.
“An appealing factor with Ash was that he had worked closely with John Northey over his seven years at the club and will ensure the best practices, disciplines and culture that ‘Swooper’ introduced will be retained.
“However, most importantly, Ash has also presented an impressive blueprint for the development of our exciting young list, as well as a number of new initiatives that he will be introducing into the coaching processes.
“He has also put together a very experienced support team around him.
“Ash’s loyalty to and passion for the Swannies, as well as his obvious teaching abilities, will go a long way toward establishing him as an outstanding senior coach in the BFL.”
Baker, who is a teacher at Ballarat High School, will take over from another school teacher, Shane Hutchinson.
The 33-year-old, took over the assistant coaching role this year after six years as captain, said coaching was a natural progression.
“When Hutchy decided to travel around Australia with his family I thought I’d put my hat into the ring,” the 33-year-old said.
The club has appointed internally the last few times.
“Shaun O’Loughlan became coach after being assistant coach, then Hutchy, and I was assistant coach last year so it seemed a natural progression,” Baker said.
“The positive about going internally is you can stick with the structures and patterns over the last few years.
“I’m hoping to be an educator of young players.
“As a teacher your job is developing young minds and I’m hoping that transfers over.”
The club also announced Jamie Gepp as under-18.5 coach.
The Simonds Swans will start pre-season training in mid-November.