Right to time to step down - Noeline Taurua

NOELINE TAURUA: "I am just really excited. I know the pressure is going on, and I love these types of games."
NOELINE TAURUA: "I am just really excited. I know the pressure is going on, and I love these types of games."

It was the toughest team talk Noeline Taurua ever had to give.

The players are so close to the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic coach that she refers to them as family, and at Wednesday evening's training when she let them know she was stepping down at the end of the season, it was never going to be a straightforward speech.

"I was pretty determined not to cry, and had my plan as to what I was going to say and in particular when I was going to say it," she said. 

"But that all went out the window and nothing came out of mouth that made sense, and I cried.

"There's been a lot of emotion, definitely, for me."

Taurua had a clause in her contract stating a May 20 deadline of when she had to let the franchise know if she was coming back the following year.

That arrived a day after she got home, travel weary following the Magic's loss to the Steel in Invercargill.

Six hours of travel on three separate plane rides, Taurua went for a Sunday lie down, no doubt mulling over the prospect of leaving the franchise, the biggest decision of her career.

"It's been sitting there for a while and [I] just had to make the decision and decide what I was actually going to do," she said.

"I could've extended it, but that wouldn't have been right.

"You've got to know when it's time to change, and for me, it's just the right time at the moment."

As clear as that sounds now, Taurua said it was no easy conclusion to come to after 11 years at the helm.

"It was huge, because I see the girls as my family, and a lot of them, we've been together for so long, that I actually see them as my kids. "We've got a long relationship and I've seen them grow over 10 years and they've seen me grow, not only as a coach but as a person as well."

Taurua maintained that had her team been at the top of the table, without a loss, her decision would have been no different.

"I don't think so at all. Even last year we had won [the title] and it was a good position, actually, to go for another year. So results weren't it, it's more about where I am at this particular time in my life and basically that I needed some new challenges.

"Every year I make sure that I speak to a lot of people that know that I can actually deliver something really different the following year."

Taurua admitted the timing of the announcement was probably not the best it could be, but that it was designed to help in the transition phase, with just a two-week block at the end of the season before player contracting begins.

"Usually when you do any appointments it's roughly around a six-week block so all those players in the zone would not have had a coach secured," Taurua said. "And from my experience, or with other franchises, it's not good. It's not good for the zone, it's definitely not good for players and it's not a good way to start off the season."

For now the mother of five has no job in the pipeline, but will keep on with a three-year Coach Accelerant Programme run by High Performance Sport New Zealand, where she and other top coaches from round the country learn the theory behind coaching.

She will also complete a masters degree of science and performance coaching.

The Silver Ferns assistant role has just been filled, but Taurua is keeping an eye out for a national job in the future.

"In a couple of years if the job does open up then I can actually put my hand in with all the possible information and qualifications behind me.

"I haven't closed myself off to any opportunity that may come to me. I love coaching and I've put so much time into it and I've learnt so much. So there's some skills that you can definitely transfer over to something else."

Waikato Times