22 Sep Bell Post Hill senior coach steps down after two successful seasons
Bell Post Hill legend Brad Martin has stepped down as senior coach after a successful two years in charge.
The 2017 senior premiership coach broke the news to his playing group on Friday evening before addressing the remainder of his club at last night’s Coombs medal presentation.
“It has been a six week decision where I’ve chatted to the club about where I’m headed and where I’m at as a coach,” Martin said.
“This group has heard my voice for a long time so it was all a mutual decision and we thought now was a good time to have a new voice for the club.”
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An emotional evening for Bell Post Hill’s most recent 🏆 coach Brad Martin who has called time on his stint with the senior side. Since taking over in 2017 he has held a 32-1-9 winning record (with three of those defeats decided by 10-points or less) #geelongdfl #coombsmedal
The Panther mentor boasted an impressive 32-1-9 winning record in his two seasons with three defeats decided by 10-points or less.
The announcement came as a shock to many on hand at the Croatian Community Centre last night as Martin was joined on the stage by his closest figures at the club.
These included reserve co-coaches Nathan McLure and Joshua Bacely who have also called time on their four year stint in charge of the Panthers’ feeder side.
“Driving here with my wife I mentioned how it had been a big 12 months from celebrating a premiership last year to resigning as a coach and talking to people about the future,” he said.
“Nathan McLure and Josh Bacely were the first two I called up onto the stage because we grew up together aspiring success for this club and we all coached a premiership last year.”
“Nick Popovski was the treasurer who I genuinely bled for as a teammate and I mentioned Tony Dosen (manager), Billy McAuliffe (president) and Kenny Whitehall (trainer) as well.”
“These were people who supported me in my journey and I just wanted to thank them and let them know that I’m still here for the club.”
“But now was the right time for me to step back by sacrificing this role and giving it to someone else.”
He continued, “I might venture somewhere as a coach, I’m a ‘level one coach’ and I genuinely love coaching at this stage of my life but it just wasn’t right continuing this role.”
“I’m still talking to players and I’ve still got a mutual agreement with the club where I’ll be involved in recruiting, fitness and conditioning as well.”
Martin, who made a name for himself with Werribee (VFL) and Bell Park, combined for over 200 games as a senior player and coach since returning to his junior club in 2007.
Less than three years later he would go down in history as the club’s inaugural captain.
“If there was a turning point at the club then it was the phone call I received from Nathan Lewis at the end of 2006,” Martin said.
“People can say what they’ve experienced but for me it came down to a meeting at the Sphinx (hotel) between Nathan, my brother and myself ahead of the 2007 season.”
“After a second ACL reconstruction I stopped playing for two years but after that meeting I thought what an amazing opportunity this was to help guide this club to its first premiership.”
After two losing grand finals to fellow suburban clubs Thomson (2008) and East Geelong (2009) Martin was finally able hold the club’s first of seven premierships in 2010.
“This club made my dreams come true because as a junior all I ever dreamed about was playing in a premiership,” he reflected.
“So to both captain and (later) coach my home club to a premiership has been a dream come true.”
Martin appeared in the club’s first four premierships before joining Brent Grgic (2010-12 & 2014) and Steve ‘Stoofa’ Lewry (2016) as the club’s third premiership coach last year.
“Last year was the most successful year the club has had because we didn’t lose a final and both teams lost two games for the entire season,” he added.
“Not many coaches say that they captured two flags in their first season.”
MEANWHILE Bell Post Hill midfielder Matthew James took out the club’s Geoff Coombs best and fairest medal a month after capturing the league’s Whitley medal.
Tim Barton accepted his runner up trophy, his highest finish after two recent third placings, while Molly Neeson collected her second straight A-Grade best and fairest.
By Alex Tigani
GDFL Media (23/09/2018)