The man with the Midas touch returns to
The Victorian Institute of
Sport (VIS), Rowing Australia (RA) and Rowing Victoria (RV) are delighted to
announce the appointment of Noel Donaldson as the VIS / Victorian Performance
Pathway (VPP) Rowing Head Coach.
With 30 years of experience,
including a 12 year spell at the VIS from 1992 – 2004, Donaldson has been a
prominent and successful world-class rowing coach of Victorian state,
Australian national and more recently, New Zealand national crews.
Donaldson learnt his trade as a coxswain and
represented Australia once, in the eight at the 1979 World Championships on
Lake Bled in what was then Yugoslavia.
He started coaching at Melbourne’s Carey Baptist
Grammar School in the 1980s and progressed to become one of
rowing’s most successful coaches, responsible for masterminding some of Australia’s
greatest Olympic successes.
Donaldson has had the Midas
touch throughout his career and has a remarkable record of success at international level
winning twenty medals (14 gold) at World Championship and Olympic Games for
Australia and New Zealand across 7 boat classes.
Without question Donaldson is
best known as the architect of the world conquering ‘Oarsome Foursome’ since
their inception in late 1989. With three World Championships (1990, 1991, 1998)
and back-to-back Olympic gold medals (1992, 1996), they were the most feared
coxless four in the world.
After the 1992 Barcelona
Olympics, Donaldson took the position of the Senior Rowing Coach at the VIS,
and in 1993 became the Head Coach of Rowing at the Institute. From February
2001 he held both the VIS position and the National Men’s Head Coach position
with Rowing Australia.
September 2004, Donaldson was appointed the High Performance Director of Rowing
Australia to lead the rowing team towards the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He was
also the Men’s Head Coach of the Australian Rowing Team at the 2004 Athens
Olympics, guiding the squad to one gold, one silver and one bronze medal.
Donaldson was awarded the
Australian Coaching Council and the Confederation of Australian Sport’s Coach
of the Year Award in 1992, and has also been awarded the Victorian Coaching
Centre Coach of the Year on two occasions 1996 and 1998. He was inducted into
the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1999.
In 2013 Donaldson accepted
the position as Lead Coach for Men’s Sweep with Rowing New Zealand and worked
with the highly successful Men’s Pair of Hamish Bond and Eric Murray, and more
recently with single sculler Robbie Manson, among others.
He resigned from his role at
Rowing New Zealand in March 2019 and is excited to be returning home to
Australia and into a role away from the elite spotlight; “I relish the
opportunity to join the likes of Lyall McCarthy and other State Institute Head
Coaches to help to build a robust and sustainable pathway system for athletes
and coaches in high performance in Victoria and Nationally.”
“As a very proud Victorian, I
am very keen for the opportunity to demonstrate the importance of the
developmental role feeding the current and next generation of high performance
athletes into the National system,” Donaldson added.
Donaldson is passionate about
adding value to the success of high performance outcomes in his home state and
will work closely with Rowing Victoria, Rowing Australia and clubs to identify
and develop rowers who have the potential to be selected for Rowing Australia’s
(RA’s) National Training Centres (NTC’s), National Teams and ultimately achieve
podium results at benchmark events.
VIS Performance Manager
(Pathways) Rob Leeds is equally thrilled about Donaldson’s return to the VIS;
“There’s no doubt that Noel’s pedigree suggests that he will not only have a
positive impact on the VIS Pathways Rowing Program but also, more broadly, the
VIS high performance environment and Rowing in Victoria,”
Donaldson will be responsible
for the strategic, operational and technical leadership of the VIS Pathways Program
and will commence in the role on Monday 27 May 2019.