THE man who de-constructed the opposition for Mick Caruso has been appointed his successor at Wangaratta Rovers.
Paul Maher will coach the Hawks for at least the next two seasons.
Maher, a highly successful thirds coach at the Ovens and Murray club, was in charge of opposition analysis under Caruso and said he was looking forward to putting that knowledge into action over the coming seasons.
“I think I have a good understanding as to how the other clubs set up,” Maher said.
“I’m rapt with the faith the club has shown in me.
“A lot of hard work starts now.
“We’ve been super competitive the last couple of years and know it’s about taking that next step.”
Maher takes on the role following two stints as coach of the Hawks’ thirds, leading them to the premiership in his first year at the helm in 2003.
He coached the Hawks’ under-18’s to three more grand finals and a preliminary final in his two tenures.
Maher also coached Rovers’ reserves in 2007.
With that experience, most of the Hawks’ group of senior stars are products from Maher’s years in the lower ranks.
“They are and that’s a source of great pride for me,” Maher said.
“I know a lot of them well already.
“The fire really came into the belly late in the year when Mick said he was stepping down and the club said they were interested in having a chat.”
Maher’s appointment continues the Hawks’ tradition of selecting new coaches from within the club ranks.
And although the Hawks had originally wanted an outsider to take over, Wangaratta Rovers president Andrew Smith said none were better than Maher.
“He was the right man for the job,” Smith said.
“We had a fairly large criteria we thought needed to be filled and Paul ticked the most boxes.
“The process was probably a little drawn out but we felt we needed to exhaust every avenue.
“He’s had a lot to do with this list and worked with Mick the past two years.”
Maher said he was chasing recruits for next year.
The Hawks have already signed former VFL goalkicker Aaron Murray.