Former Brumbies team manager Ben Gathercole is the new Triathlon Australia high-performance director. Photo: Jay CronanRugby union wasn’t ACT Brumbies team manager Ben Gathercole’s first love, but he grew to love it over his two seasons with the Super Rugby province.
Now he’s got the chance to lead his true love “back to the glory days” after Triathlon Australia announced him as its high-performance director on Tuesday.
It means the Brumbies are now looking for a new chief executive, a new team manager and also a playmaker.
Gathercole will remain in Canberra where he’ll work closely with Australia’s best triathlon coaches to take Australia back to the top after it “faded a bit” at the Olympic Games in Brazil.
He’s a former triathlon coach – guiding Simon Thompson to the Athens Games – author of the book Better Than Winning, and his father Terry won a silver medal in swimming at the 1960 Olympics in Rome.
Gathercole brought a different perspective when he joined the Brumbies, but now returns to his original sport.
He said this year was a tough one due to the controversy surrounding the departure of former chief executive Michael Jones, but he was proud of the way the club had come through it.
Now he’s looking to get Australian triathlon back on track after he said it “punched above it’s weight” during and after the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
The Australian women won one gold, two silver and two bronze across the four Olympics leading into Rio de Janeiro, but neither the men nor women stepped on the podium in Brazil.
“I really enjoyed rugby and I enjoyed the people, it was fantastic, but it wasn’t my first love, so to speak, although I grew to love certain aspects of it,” Gathercole said.
“The chance to lead a sport that you love and to have the ability to influence elite coaches and elite athletes [drew me back to triathlon].
“We’ve always had that rich history [in triathlon] and maybe that’s just faded a little bit, but as we know in truly elite sport that comes and goes … and we’re hoping to evolve that and get back to our glory days.”
Brumbies acting boss Phil Thomson will now begin the search for a new team manager, while the board is searching for a new chief executive.
Thomson said Gathercole had already put in place a lot of the planning for next season, which would allow assistant team manager Sam Rolfe to take over the role in the interim.
“I’d say he’s got his ideal job by the sound of it. He did a good job while he was here, adapting to a different sport and different requirements,” Thomson said.
“He’s offered a different look on things, which was good for the organisation.
“He was a good operator and we’ll go through the process of identifying a replacement.”
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.