Kirkland and Passmore step down from key IHA roles

Five IHA posts are now looking for new full-time inhabitants after chief executive Angus Kirkland and high performance director Dave Passmore both stepped down from their respective roles.

With Lucas Piccioli moving on from his role as Leinster regional development officer and both senior coaches, Gene Muller and Paul Revington, resigning, it leaves a number of roles to be filled on a full-time basis.

Kirkland has taken up in a new role as Director General of the European Hockey Federation, ostensibly stepping into the role vacated by Irishman David Balbirnie who previously held the role as General Secretary.

He joined the IHA in 2008, notably helping to secure four world level events, most notably the recent Electric Ireland FIH Road to London last March.

He will remain with the IHA until mid-October and the position will be reviewed and advertised in due course.
Speaking about his time with the IHA, he told The Hook this afternoon: “I’ve had a fantastic time. It’s a brilliant organisation. Coming from outside of the sport, I’ve been welcomed in. It is a family in many respects as it holds itself up to be. I’ve learned new things every year; being a team sport, an Olympic sport has been a massive change and I really enjoyed the challenge personally and professionally.
He cited March as a major highlight despite the narrow misses of both men and women in qualifying for the Olympic Games: “A big high was the Olympic qualifiers.

“The whole month was fantastic for the sport. The rollercoaster we went on, the heart-wrenching finish with the men and then the women doing so well and not quite making it – the highlight for me was it brought the whole hockey community together in such a positive fashion.

“The Olympics is the ultimate goal and I do firmly believe Ireland can reach the Olympics the next time round and I think we have taken tremendous steps forwards and if we keep going on the same pathway, we will get there.”

Passmore, meanwhile, handed in his notice that he wished to step down from his role as the High Performance Director on May 10, and confirmed this to The Hook earlier today.

He will stay in his current role until Septemebr and will still have a reduced involvement with the IHA as part of their coaches education team for one and a half days per week while also going on to lecture in DCU.

Passmore leaves the IHA after 13 years working in the high performance realm, six in England, seven with the IHA, and believes the role he vacates is a highly attractive one for newcomers.

“I made the decision to step down from the HP Director’s role soon after the disappointment of the Olympic Qualifiers. It is a challenging role that I feel I’ve given my all to over the past seven years and hope that the changes and processes put in place can lead all our national teams to future success”

“Irish Hockey is indebted to its fabulous group of volunteer coaches, managers and support staff who make such a huge commitment to player development in Ireland.

“Every tournament we compete in is always so well supported by their support and sacrifices. Irish Hockey has a very small staff pool. It is a challenging environment for this reason and the selflessness of these staff was so apparent at this year’s men’s OQT for which we should all be grateful” he added.

Passmore also coached the Irish senior men from 2005 to 2009 and took them from 24th to 18th in the world rankings. Among his acheivements were winning the Euro Trophy in 2005, Celtic Cup in 2008 and getting tournament results against Pakistan (2006), Spain and England (2007) along with victory over World champions, Germany in 2007.

In recent times, the Leinster regional development officer position has been advertised while the senior coach roles are currently under discussion.

Dennis Pritchard has been appointed interim coach of the women’s team through to the end of the Champions Challenge 1 tournament with the permanent position set to be advertised by the end of July.

A final decision on an Interim coach with regard for the replacement of Paul Revington is still being finalised in conjunction with the high performance working group, players and the IHA board.

Once this has been completed this will be communicated. The permanent position will be advertised before the end of July.

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