7 Dec 2016

Batch steps down as Black Sticks coach

1:29 am on 7 December 2016

Hockey New Zealand has confirmed Colin Batch has stepped down as head coach of the Black Sticks men.

Batch's resignation comes just a couple of months after signing on for four more years.

New Zealand men's hockey coach Colin Batch.

New Zealand men's hockey coach Colin Batch. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Hockey New Zealand says his resignation is effective immediately

He has been in charge of the Black Sticks for the past four years, leading on from the London 2012 Olympics

Batch's good friend and now former Wellington Phoenix football coach Ernie Merrick let the news slip at a media conference this afternoon, when he was talking about his decision to resign as the club's coach.

Batch, who played 175 tests for Australia, is believed to be taking up the head coach role for Australia, according to Merrick.

"It's coincidental, isn't it, that two or three positions changed," Merrick said.

"I got a text from a friend of mine, Colin Batch, who's the Black Sticks national coach - he's resigned as well.

"He's taking over the Australian team, I believe.

"Maybe I've spoken out of turn. Was that common knowledge? Maybe he hasn't resigned yet."

Hockey New Zealand High Performance Director Terry Evans later confirmed the move.

"We wish Colin all the best and thank him for his dedication to the Black Sticks Men's programme during his four years in New Zealand," Evans said.

"We know this decision hasn't been an easy one for Colin, and that having been away from his family in Australia for eight years has been the main reason for returning back home.

"Colin has developed an international programme that will lead to success into the future, making the role of head coach of the Black Sticks Men one that we know will be sought after by coaches locally and around the world."

Batch oversaw a major culture shift during his time as Black Sticks Men's coach and achieved a silver medal finish at the 2014 World League Final, fourth at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and gold at the 2015 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.

Hockey New Zealand will be recruiting for a new head coach shortly with the role hoped to be filled as soon as possible.