TOP COACH: These inspiring Gympie men and women are nominated for Gympie's Top Coach. Have your say now in the online poll.
TOP COACH: These inspiring Gympie men and women are nominated for Gympie's Top Coach. Have your say now in the online poll. Contributed

Why I coach: 8 selfless men and women making a difference

IN CASE you didn't have reason enough to vote for Gympie's Top Coach, here is the story of why these dedicated Gympie men and women do what they do.

The Gympie Times put the call out for the region's top coach last week and the response was overwhelming - from junior sports to premier men's and women's coaches, The Gympie Times has narrowed down the list to a Top 40.

To decide Gympie's top coach we need you to vote in the poll by clicking the link below.


Meet eight of the Top Coach nominees here and tune in tomorrow for more profiles on Gympie's favourite coaches.

Brett Cottrill Gympie Tennis club coach.
Brett Cottrill Gympie Tennis club coach. Renee Albrecht

Brett Cottrill, tennis

IF YOU have hit a ball with a racquet in Gympie in the past 30 years it has probably been in front of tennis coach Brett Cottrill.

The former tennis player, who was ranked as one of the state's top 10 men's singles players before taking up coaching, has dedicated years to the sport.

He started his coaching journey in Brisbane before an opportunity arose in Gympie.

MORE: One on one with tennis coach Brett Cottrill

Brett was honoured with life membership of the Gympie and District Tennis Association in 2017 for his dedication to the sport.

He said he enjoys nothing more than when a player starts off with few skills and goes on to be the best player they can.

"It is great to be able to spend time with a player who may not be a world beater but has the attitude and motivation to do something with their tennis.”

Sammie Sutton
Sammie Sutton Troy Jegers

Sammie Sutton, football

A LOVE for the game and an even greater love for her developing player's success is what drives Gympie football coach Sammie Sutton.

The talented defender, who is a huge asset to the Gympie United Premier Women's A-grade team, has been a committed coach since she was 15 years old, when she took a team of budding footballers under her wing in the first year under-5s joined the Gympie Football competition.

"In the beginning I began coaching because I didn't want to see soccer numbers drop in our region and teams without coaches weren't coping and therefore players were leaving the game,” Sammie said.

"I continued to coach as I got such a great level of satisfaction from doing it.”

This year, Sammie took on her first competitive coaching role, leading the under-14 Gympie United FC girls in their first season in the Sunshine Coast League.

"My girls this year have made me a very proud coach. From being oppositions and playing against each other last year to coming together this year as one team. And not only that but being a competitive and strong team in the Sunshine Coast League.

"I feel if the players are having fun whilst learning they are more likely to take on board what you are coaching and hopefully the more game related you make the drills the easier it is for the players to relate to the game itself.”

The result for the girls was a tight fifth on the ladder, which was the result of Sammie's support, faith and commitment to every player and her ability to keep the team unified, team manager Tanya Albion said.

"Not only does Sammie perform all of the standard coaches duties, but to play taxi, mum and care giver as well has been well and truly appreciated by the girls and parents,” Tanya said.

Tom Kross
Tom Kross Donna Jones

Tom 'Krossy' Kross, league

LIKE many coaches, Devils under-14's girls coach Tom "Krossy” Kross started because of his son Tahj, but seeing the children develop on and off the field has kept him around.

This is Krossy's seventh year as coach and despite the challenges, he loves being on the footy field on the weekend.

"When I was young, someone gave up the time for me and I thought it was the right thing for me to do as well,” he said.

"Like most dad's you get into it because of your kids but I also like seeing other children improve, learn the game and most importantly have fun.”

Krossy is teaching the girls after previously coaching boys in the under-10s for one year, under-12s for two years, 13s, 14s and 15s.

After almost a decade of coaching, there is plenty Krossy has seen on the league field but the moment that stands out was three years ago.

"Watching the boys win the under-14 grand final in 2016 was awesome. It is something I have never forgotten,” he said.

"The boys were short on numbers all year and they really bonded during that year and became a really good team because of it.”

Krossy said it was "very satisfying” watching the children improve.

"Watching them all improve, with some making representative teams and some playing in grand finals is what I get out of coaching,” he said.

"It is not all about footy, seeing them become better people and role models for the future.”

His coaching style might be a bit dated compared to some coaches but Krossy keeps it simple.

"I am probably a bit old school compared to some in my coaching style but the club (Gympie Devils) gives us heaps of information which helps,” he said.

"I demand a certain amount of respect from the children and get them to respond. It is all about them having mateship in the team.”

Gympie Basketball coach Leeroy Todd with daughter Ava Todd.
Gympie Basketball coach Leeroy Todd with daughter Ava Todd. Miguel Galy

Leeroy Todd, basketball

ALTHOUGH this is only the second year Leeroy Todd has been coaching his daughter's primary basketball team, he's obviously doing something right, having found himself nominated as one of Gympie's top coaches.

Sarah Donoghue nominated Leeroy.

"Coach Leeroy from Gympie basketball is kind, patient and adapts to everyone's needs. We vote for him!” she wrote.

Leeroy himself was humble on hearing about his nomination.

"People like Matt Elson have put in a massive effort. I'm very appreciative but I don't feel like a deserve it,” he said.

Basketball is a massive part of Leeroy's life, having played since Year 8 and dedicating 13 years to the sport.

And now that his daughter is growing up so fast, coaching the sport he loves is a chance for him to spend more quality time with her.

Leeroy thinks a good coach is a good communicator.

"You need to connect with the kids, teach the kids and do your best to help them achieve in the sport,” her said.

Colleen Miller
Colleen Miller Renee Albrecht

Colleen Miller, netball

COLLEEN Miller has worn many hats since she stepped back on to Gympie's netball courts.

Some of those hats have included club president and umpire, but she says coaching is "probably the big one”.

Born in Kilkivan, Colleen moved to Gympie when she was 16 and was an avid netballer until stepping away for a time to concentrate on family duties.

When she took up her first coaching mantle five years ago, she said it was because there was an influx of new blood and not many able to take the helm.

MORE: Minor premiers to have the edge in Gympie netball finals

"I had no coaching background beyond that I was a player,” she said.

She is now the coach of a junior team and the under-13 representative side, and has not looked back.

"I love working with the little ones,” she said, particularly the "lightbulb” moment "as to why we did the drill 1000 times in training”.

She said it was a job where you had to "look at your whole team individually and find the strength in each player”.

Colleen also received a 2019 Australia Day award for Sports Administration and was named in last year's Gympie Power 30.

Troy Carlson
Troy Carlson Bec Singh

Troy Carlson, rugby league

FIRST year as a coach and Troy Carlson took the Gympie Devils women to the grand final.

While his own competitive playing career came to an end, Carlson put his hand up for the women's head coach duties.

"It was stressful at the time but I enjoyed watching the girls succeed and seeing them play week in and week out,” he said.

With the side going to the grand final in its inaugural season, there are a few moments that stand out.

"Beating Maroochydore (Swans) to get into the grand final at home was fantastic,” Troy said.

MORE: How the Devils fell short in nail-biting grand final

"There was such a great atmosphere down there with the A-grade Devils boys and the big crowd support.

"The day before the grand final I was driving to play golf and driving past Albert Park. I saw one of the players with her boyfriend practising her passing, coaching and kicking.

"It was good to see it meant as much to her as it did to other members of the club.

"I like to be one-on-one with the players and get the best out of each individual,” he said.

"I prefer to work with them on individual parts of their game and then bring everything together for a team run and hopefully click. I am pretty relaxed until game day.”

It was a natural progression for Troy to still be involved with the game.

"My playing career was coming to an end but I still wanted to be a part of the game even if I wasn't playing competitively,” he said.

"I like being with the girls on the weekend and still involved at a competitive point rather than just being a spectator. It is good to just be around the team.”  

Mark Crumblin
Mark Crumblin Contributed

Mark Crumblin, rugby union

AS A life-long rugby player and enthusiast, Mark "Crumbie” Crumblin knows the unique feeling of being part of a sporting "family”.

So it was an easy choice when the Gympie women's Hammers team needed a replacement for the reincarnated team's first coach, Glen Gamble.

"The girls needed a coach,” he says.

MORE: The combination that has the Hammers coach confident

Starting out on the rugby field out at Toowoomba when he was 13 years old, coaching the Hammers was the first time Mark took the reins of a team - a challenge he is tackling head on.

Being a coach is not solely about what happens on the field, Mark says.

The team's play on the field is only part of what he wants to have an affect on, with the skills and knowledge hopefully finding their way into other parts of their lives.

And what makes a good coach?

"You've got to listen to them all.

"Every player is different.

"You've got to be able to gel with everybody.”

Queensland Masters Softball coach Glenys Chatman
Queensland Masters Softball coach Glenys Chatman Kelda Krafft

Glenys Chatman, softball

WITH as much dedication as good humour, it's easy see why veteran softball coach Glenys Chatman is on the list of Gympie's top coaches.

A retired Gympie State High School business teacher, after dedicating years to coaching teenage high school teams, Glenys has now taken on a team of more experience.

For the past three years she has lead the charge for the Bruisers - the Gympie Masters Softball team that recently returned from the Queensland Masters Games undefeated.

Her coaching led the team from ninth division three years ago to taking the crown in division six this year.

Kelda Krafft, who was coached by Glenys in high school and now wears the Bruiser jersey, said she had always played to individuals' strengths.

"Because she's been in that sport herself she knows exactly what you are able to do - she leaves it up to the individual to decide their ability.

"Her coaching style has always been based around humour but with a touch of 'we know when it's time to be serious',” she said.

"She's just really one of the girls.”

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