Teaching to beaching: coach makes move

Brent Matehaere has made a switch not too many would turn down.

Instead of returning to his classroom at the end of the National Basketball League season, he will head to the beach for the summer.

The Otago Nuggets head coach has left his job of 22 years teaching at Otago Boys’ High School.

He has taken up the role of Otago-Southland club development officer for Surf Life Saving New Zealand.

The move will allow him to continue coaching the Nuggets full-time during the season, without having to seek leave.

Otago Nuggets coach Brent Matehaere takes a break at St Clair Beach yesterday, having taken on...
Otago Nuggets coach Brent Matehaere takes a break at St Clair Beach yesterday, having taken on the Otago-Southland club development officer role at Surf Life Saving New Zealand. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH

It is also a good time for a change of lifestyle.

‘‘School teaching isn’t easy,’’ Matehaere said.

‘‘It’s certainly a commitment and it’s something that takes a lot of effort and drains you a bit.

‘‘I think it was time to make a change for myself, so I’m looking forward to the challenge of surf life-saving and Nuggets.’’

It is hardly a new area in which to get involved for Matehaere.

He has been highly active at the St Clair Surf Life Saving Club since the late 1990s, both as a competitor and an official.

He was still ‘‘getting to know’’ the job, although it involved facilitating competitions, events and the volunteers for the six clubs in the region.

He admitted it was a strange feeling having finished at Otago Boys’, where he had also coached the basketball team.

‘‘It’s a little interesting. It’s something I’m still getting used to. I pop in quite a bit. Obviously, I’ve got some great friends up there.

‘‘It’s good to pop in and help them with the basketball. Darcy Knox has taken over [as basketball coach] — he’s doing a great job, so I’ll look to support him.’’

It would also leave him free to concentrate on the Nuggets during the winter.

Planning was well under way for next season and talks with players had begun.

However, no contracts could be signed until the free agency period began next month.

Uncertainty around the Australian NBL season, due to Covid-19, was again proving disruptive, he said.

The potential for the import limit to rise from two to three would also ‘‘make things interesting’’.

Matehaere added the team was looking both at its existing squad and whatever newcomers it could attract.

‘‘I think you’ve always got to look further afield.

‘‘Bringing new people in will challenge the people that are still there. It’s making sure we’ve got the positions covered and so on.

‘‘We’ve got locals who we’re confident can do the job and we want to fill in the gaps around them.’’

He said the team had learnt plenty as an organisation last season, its first in many years operating in a full NBL.

As far as on-court performance went, the team would look to build on its sixth-place finish — although he said a new playoff system would have the top six advance next year.

‘‘I think [last season] was a couple of missed opportunities.

‘‘[There were] a couple of times where inexperience and youth, both from myself and the players, effected a couple of results. We look to improve those things.

‘‘The heart of the team was there. Everyone was giving their best and trying to win — but so was the opposition.’’

The NBL is scheduled to begin on April 7.

The annual White Island race will be held this Saturday at 11am at St Clair Beach.

Life guard patrols start next weekend.

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