Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"The job I have been working towards for 16 years" Tony Zummack GB coach

Team Great Britain's new coach, Tony Zummack from Calgary Alberta, says he has always known that he wanted to become involved with coaching at the national level.

"You can't argue with the success of Canada's national program," he told me today. "Gerry Peckham and Joe Rea have been very successful, and you can't expect it to be dismantled to let someone else have a go. So when I learned about the British job last October, I decided to apply."

It was announced today that Zummack will replace Tom Pendreigh as the British Wheelchair Curling Coach, joining a team of five national high performance coaches. He has a four year contract that runs through the end of 2014, and will begin his duties in January.

He feels the experience he gained coaching Calgary's Team Smart, perennial Alberta Champions, over the past two plus seasons, has prepared him for the challenge.

"Team Alberta works just as hard and does the same things in training as Team Canada. What they don't have is the financial resources for sports psychologists and trainers and opportunities for travel.

"But what we have done in Calgary is a solid grounding for what needs to be done in a national program. I am just sorry that I won't be there to see them compete in Edmonton, but I know they are good enough to win a national championship, especially with the return of Bruno Yizek, who brings so many things to the team."

The Zummack's will be relocating to Stirling, Scotland which is north of both Glasgow and Edinburgh. Their daughter will transfer to Sterling University after her winter semester, but Tony is anxious to get to Scotland to meet his new team.

"They have a high performance squad that is about the same size as in Canada, and their team for the 2011 Worlds in Prague has already been picked, so it will be a case of getting to know them and seeing where we are," he says.

So your first job will be to pick a skip? "Who says I'll be the one to choose who skips?" he replied, which on reflection was a pretty athlete-centred answer.

British wheelchair curlers have under-performed expectations for several years now. "I'm not going to be making big changes right away," said Zummack. "It will take time to assess the players and the program. I'll have the summer to discuss with Performance Director Dave Crosbee what if any changes should be made.

"I'll also be travelling and watching other players. As a full-time coach part of my job will be talent identification. That's a lot easier in a geographically smaller country like Scotland, where it will be possible to drive to regularly see players in the way that Canada's size makes more difficult.

"I'm looking forward to working with Dave Crosbee and Rhona Martin, people with more international experience than I have. But I am confident that I can bring success to the program. Success brings funding and funding brings success. I am really looking forward to the challenge."


Anonymous said...

Gret Britain must be serious, to provide adequate incentive to relocate Tony......look out next season....

Michael Alberg said...

Congratulations Tony. You will no doubt be missed by everyone in the Alberta program. It's been a pleasure curling with you.