BORDER fitness guru and former Lavington Panthers footy premiership player Mick Richards is the new Murray United senior coach.
The man who also led Melrose, then known as the Lavington Panthers, to the AWFA league title in 2004 and was named coach of the year as a result has been in the background with the conditioning staff at the newly formed National Premier League club since returning to the Border late last year.
Richards takes the reins of the flagship tea, less than two weeks after former coach Matt Gray stepped aside.
Murray United chairman Mark Byatt said it was a case of being in the right place at the right time.
“Sometimes timings fall in your favour and on this occasion it is certainly the case,” he said.
“Mick’s truly outstanding sporting prowess, personal character and commitment to the long-term exemplifies exactly what our club deserves.
“He is local, he is respected, and we have every confidence he will do an outstanding job.”
Gray stepped down less than three months after his appointment.
“After careful consideration Murray United senior coach Matt Gray reluctantly handed in his resignation on Friday evening saying it had become clear to him he was not yet ready to commit the time required to undertake the head coach role,” Murray United said at the time.
Byatt said in the wake of Gray’s departure a selection sub-committee immediately started a process to identify a suitable coach to lead the senior team.
“Undertaking a full re-review of senior coach applications and seeking advice on additional suitably appropriate coaches, the board unanimously supported the recommendation to appoint Mick Richards to the position,” he said.
Byatt said Richards’ senior coaching successes were in both soccer and football, training Olympic athletes as well as playing in premiership soccer and football teams.
He and another former Panther footy player, Luke Brauer, opened Mecca Fitness Coaching and Conditioning in Albury in October.
Richards had spent the previous two years running a gym in Netherlands with Dutch Olympic weightlifting coach Pierre Vergroost.
Richards was not available for comment yesterday.