The coach is calling time out.
Steve "Coach" McKean has been the face of secondary schools' sport in Taranaki for the past 20 years but he's decided it's time to retire from his role as regional sports director for the Taranaki Secondary Schools' Sports Association.
"It's been the best job in the country. I'm working with the best people and I've never had a day when I didn't want to come to work," he said.
"It's been fun. The kids are great and you develop a strong relationship with the people you work with.
"The sponsors, the principals, the sports co-ordinators and the kids, they're all special people."
McKean has organised hundreds of events during school terms for children to have a go at.
His energy and drive have extended the secondary schools' sporting calendar from 12 events a year to 44. McKean's contribution to Taranaki sport was recognised in 2004 when he received a New Plymouth District Council citizen's award and again this year when he was on the Queen's Birthday honours list, becoming a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to sport.
At a function this week, McKean thought the spotlight would be on the sports co-ordinators from the 13 secondary schools in Taranaki.
It's an event he has organised for the past 15 years to recognise their efforts and that's how it started out on Monday. But the roles were quickly reversed, with the spotlight soon turning on McKean after guest speaker and former All Black Eric Rush had entertained the crowd.
It quickly became a "This is your Life" celebration, with even the "Queen" dropping in to personally present McKean with his New Zealand Order of Merit badge.
Long-time friends Bob South, Stan Hill and Neville Corlett joined in the celebrations, with a video link with daughter Naomi from San Francisco revealing a softer side to McKean.
See ya, Steve: Saturday magazine tomorrow
- Taranaki Daily News
Does more need to be done to protect NZ passports?