Ruth Aitken expected to take over at Mystics
Two prominent netball coaches are fuming that Netball New Zealand (NNZ) have given the green light to former Silver Ferns coach Ruth Aitken taking over the Northern Mystics in a caretaker role.
The Mystics are expected to name Aitken as Debbie Fuller's replacement as Fuller takes a year off after two years in charge of the Auckland-based ANZ Championship franchise.
And while Aitken's coaching pedigree is not in question, two top level coaches have slammed the move, saying pathways for younger coaches are being blocked.
Both coaches Fairfax Media spoke to, former top level players as well, talked on condition of anonymity because they feared speaking out could affect their coaching prospects.
"It's shortsighted by Netball New Zealand, allowing this," one said.
"You've got good young coaches throughout the country working hard week-in, week-out with a goal of getting to the top and now not one of the franchise positions has been blocked by an older coach who has been brought back in, but two," they said referring to Leigh Gibbs coaching the Canterbury Tactix and now Aitken at the Mystics.
"What incentive is there for coaches to keep coaching at the highest level?" the second source said.
"It's not the money, is it - coaches do it because we love the sport and want to see young players do well and improve, but some coaches want to get to that top level, too, and it's made pretty hard when they aren't looked at, or are put at the back of the line behind coaches that are meant to be working for Netball New Zealand in a wider coaching role."
Aitken left the Silver Ferns last year and soon after took up a role as NNZ coaching director. It is understood Aitken, international netball's most-capped coach, has been granted a leave of absence from her position to focus on the Mystics in the 2013 trans-Tasman tournament.
- © Fairfax NZ News