25 Sep Departing Kennedy Hunt pays tribute to ‘father figure’ coach McDowell
Sidelined Inverleigh goal-kicker Jak Kennedy Hunt says he will remain loyal to outgoing coach Mark McDowell who parted way with the club last night.
The 2017 Whitley medallist found 153 goals from his 25 games at the club before suffering a serious knee injury in July.
“It’s hard to leave the club because of all the friendships but at the end of the day I’m a loyal person to Mark because he’s been a father figure to me,” Kennedy Hunt admitted.
McDowell guided the Hawks’ to five successive finals series (including the last two grand finals) since crossing over to the club from Corio at the end of 2013.
His 83-21 winning record also saw him take out three GDFL coach of the year titles (2014, 2016 and 2017).
However the senior mentor remains devastated that he was unable to guide the Hawks’ to a long awaited senior premiership after going down to Thomson in this year’s season decider.
“I decided it was time to step down and I’ll take some time to decide what I’m going to do going forward; that is in fact if I want to do anything,” McDowell said.
McDowell met with two club officials at the Sphinx Hotel to discuss whether or not a sixth year at the helm would be on the cards.
The 40-minute meeting would result in the mutual decision nevertheless McDowell urges Hawks fans to believe in the club’s playing group.
“I won’t be influencing any players to leave or anything like that,” he added.
“Each member of the list has every right to do whatever they want to do.”
Assistant coach Kennedy Hunt, who has already been linked with three other GDFL clubs, has voiced his frustration by paying tribute to his outgoing ‘father figure’ coach.
“It is what it is, Mark’s been like a father figure to me since the day that I met him,” Kennedy Hunt said.
“At times like these I think some people should put their hand up and take some responsibility for their own performance rather than throwing somebody else under the bus.”
“Great clubs stick together and at the end of the day this club hasn’t for a variety of reasons.”
“We’ll wait and see if the decision they (Inverleigh) have made has paid off for them.”
Kennedy Hunt remained tight lipped on whether he would venture on with a third GDFL club (having featured with Winchelsea before Inverleigh) or explore further options.
“Last year there were greater offers and job opportunities but at the end of the day I put them aside because I believed in Mark and what we were capable as a club.”
“People think grand finals are won over night but at the end of the day if you go back to Mark and Billy’s (Nicholls) first interview with the club in 2013 they both predicted five years.”
“Look at Richmond for example, Hardwick was going to get sacked but they showed loyalty and he got them back in his eighth season.”
“We were fortunate that we had a good list and we fell short in two grand finals so there’s no excuse for that.”
“But if we all stuck fat and supported each other then who was to say we wouldn’t have been able to accomplish the ultimate in 2019.”
Inverleigh joins Bell Post Hill (see story here) and North Geelong in search of a senior coach for the 2019 season.
By Alex Tigani
GDFL Media (25/09/2018)