Legendary coach Gerard FitzGerald has decided not to seek another term of coaching the Greater Western Victoria Rebels in the TAC Cup under-18 competition.
The Rebels released a statement on Friday night saying FitzGerald had withdrawn from the selection process for the newly created expanded full-time role of Rebels regional coaching director
FitzGerald, 60, has been a part-time head coach with the Rebels for two years since he parted ways with North Ballarat Roosters in the VFL.
“In deciding to withdraw from this process, I’ve taken into account the increased demands of this new role and the time burden it would place on my lifestyle and my family commitments,” he said.
“I have enjoyed being involved in the development of the young players of our region over the past two years and will reflect fondly on my time at the Rebels.”
It was his second time with the Rebels, having coached them in 2005 and 2006 before returning to the Roosters and going to lead them to three consecutive VFL premierships from 2008.
GWV Rebels talent manager Phil Partington said FitzGerald had made a substantial contribution in his second stint as Rebels’ coach.
“Gerard has willingly provided his considerable experience and knowledge to assist the development of the talented young players in our region,” Partington said.
“He is a leader of the highest calibre and his impact on many of the young players both an off field and on field has been very positive.”
AFL Victoria chief executive officer Steven Reaper was full of praise for the contribution FitzGerald has made to football.
“We are extremely grateful for the contribution that Gerard has made to the Victorian coaching landscape.
“As the VFA/VFL games record holder and a former (VFL) state coach, Gerard’s willingness to come back and impart his knowledge on the young players coming through the Rebels program was invaluable.
“Gerard is widely regarded as a strong community leader and a person of the highest values,” he said.
We wish him all the best in his future endeavours.”
FitzGerald has established a leadership and relationship consultancy service and is looking spend his time developing the business.
Partington said the new Rebels coach would be announced next week.