Summerell takes over from 'Coach'
"He just told me to put my own stamp on it and own it"HANNAH FLEMING
Mike Summerell is well aware he has some big shoes to fill.
Yet they're shoes the native Welshman gladly stepped into yesterday when he began his new role as regional sports director for the Taranaki Secondary Schools' Sports Association.
The 30-year-old expects to face many challenges in the job, however, taking over from Steve "Coach" McKean was one in itself, he said.
"It's pretty daunting having to take over from him knowing what he's done, but he's such a good guy and has offered his help on numerous occasions already.
"The first day I met him he just told me to put my own stamp on it and own it."
Summerell arrived in Taranaki last June after seven years as a physical education teacher and head of department in Kildaire, Ireland, where he also played top-level club rugby for the Bective Rangers.
Following a brief stint at Opunake High School, Summerell said his eyes lit up when he heard about the sports director role.
"I can't write a better job description for myself. It really is my dream job.
"I love sport, I love being involved in all sports and I think being able to play such a major part in putting all those sports out there for the students to be involved in is just awesome."
Sport Taranaki chief executive Howie Tamati said they were excited to have Summerell on board and the legacy left by McKean had provided a great starting point for him.
"All things come to an end, in terms of Coach's era, and it's now Mike's to make his own. We're 100 per cent behind him and will do our best to make sure he's not left feeling unsupported."
Summerell said he had a few ideas in his back pocket, but for now his focus was on settling in.
"There are a few ideas I'd like to put on the table at some point, but for now I'm going to get my head around everything and meet all the people I need to - the teachers, the sports co-ordinators - and hear what they have to say as they've been here a lot longer than I have."
Summerell is not only Sport Taranaki's gain, but Coastal rugby's. He will join the club for a second season as a utility back this year. "They gave me a good broken nose the first training session last year to see how I could take it and as a "welcome to Coastal" sort of thing.
"But it was amazing to get swept up in that whole run to the finals last season. I hope to be out there again this year."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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