Grogan fits the bill to grow secondary sport in Canterbury

Bill Grogan. Photo: Supplied
Bill Grogan. Photo: Supplied
Bill Grogan has made a career out of building up secondary school sport in Canterbury.

The School Sport Canterbury regional director was a physical education teacher at Burnside High School between 1977 and 2002 before becoming deputy principal at Hillmorton High School for three years until his current role came up.

“When I arrived at Burnside the numbers had peaked I think, 2700 students somewhere around there.

"But I really enjoyed it, it was a well-organised place and it was good to be involved with students at all levels,’’ he said.

Grogan coaches track and field, rugby, and junior cricket.

The former Canterbury B winger said he enjoyed coaching and when his current role came up in 2005, he had mixed emotions.

 

“Being a deputy principal was still a role I was learning. Often I felt like I was the piggy-in-the-middle on some things but I was getting there.”

“The School Sport Canterbury role was an opportunity that I knew was out there and I knew a bit about it.

“It seemed like an interesting job and it came up earlier than I would have wanted,” he said.

“I felt bad because I told Hillmorton I’d be in the role for five years, but I thought if I didn’t grab this chance now, I might not get it again.

“What was expected of me in the role wasn’t a shock, it was more of a culture change.

“I realised it was nice to be independent and not controlled by a bell,” he said.

“It was nice to walk somewhere and know I could be five minutes late and I wouldn’t have a classroom full of kids waiting for me.”

Bill Grogan says while the number of sports on offer for students has increased, the number of...
Bill Grogan says while the number of sports on offer for students has increased, the number of young people playing them has not. Photo: School Sport Canterbury
Grogan said one of the biggest differences now compared to when he started is the variety of sports secondary school kids can play. But he says that has not translated to increased participation numbers.

“The number of sports on offer has increased but the number of kids has not increased.

“It’s basically a flat line for my time in the role, maybe a one or two per cent difference.

“You’re basically shifting kids who were already engaged in sport and physical activity into another sport.’’

The 67-year-old said retirement is approaching but he remains passionate about his role.

“I can see it (retirement) but it’s not quite there yet.

“I’ve loved seeing kids getting out there and playing sport.”

One frustration he has is with the overlapping of sports seasons and the modern day reality of secondary school students not finishing one season before starting another.

“For some sports they lose their players late in the season to things like winter trials for rugby and netball.

“I’m all for kids playing as many sports as they like, but it's tough when the seasons are so close.”

Grogan said he was always happy watching the young athletes of tomorrow.

“We make an effort in our office that if we are running an event on a Wednesday, we get out there on the sidelines and watch so we can see the product we are helping to create,” he said.

“Otherwise this becomes a role where you sit behind a desk in front of a computer all the time and that's not for me.”

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