Julie Fitzgerald named as new Magic coach
Former Swifts coach Julie Fitzgerald has signed a two-year contract with trans-Tasman netball league champions Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic.
Fitzgerald, who coached the Swifts to the inaugural title in 2008, takes over from long-serving Magic coach Noeline Taurua who resigned in May.
Waikato Bay of Plenty netball zone chief executive Tim Hamilton says it's a real coup to secure the signature of such an experienced coach.
''We did a thorough search for the best netball coach available to lead the Magic into its next era and to build on the outstanding success the team has achieved,'' he said.
''To have secured someone of Julie's calibre is quite an achievement, and we're thrilled with the appointment.''
Fitzgerald coached the Swifts from 2008 until 2011, when she was replaced by Lisa Beehag, who resigned from the position three days ago.
Fitzgerald has spent the last two years as head netball coach at the Australian Institute of Sport.
She was assistant coach of the Diamonds from 2012, and travelled with the team for their tour to England at the beginning of this year.
''I'm excited to be beginning this new chapter in my coaching career and to have the opportunity to build on the success of such an established team,'' she said.
Fitzgerald will have input into appointing team management support staff, and will also be involved in developing future coaching and playing talent in the Waikato-Bay of Plenty zone.
She is the second Australian named in a key New Zealand netball coaching role, with former Australian international Vicki Wilson appointed Silver Ferns assistant coach to Waimarama Taumaunu in May.
The Magic have made the ANZ Championship play-offs every year since 2008.
They were beaten 53-50 by Queensland Firebirds in last Sunday's minor semi-final in Hamilton.