The IABA are actively pursuing someone to fill the role as High Performance Director.
Gary Keegan was the last man to hold the role in Irish Boxing and oversaw a very successful Beijing Olympics which heralded medals for Darren Sutherland, Paddy Barnes, and Kenny Egan, before leaving the position to take over as High Performance Director of the Irish Institute of Sport, a role he left this year.
Billy Walsh had hoped to fill the void left by Keegan’s departure, but continued on to London as High Performance Head Coach rather than Director – although he essentially fulfilled the role of both.
The Wexford coach has now taken up a position on the USA Boxing team – with the lack of recognition of his operational role as director a major issue – with Zaur Antia now working as the Irish lead coach.
The IABA revealed last week at the launch of their 2017-2020 Strategic Plan – ‘Boxing Clever’ that they need a High Performance Director to work alongside the various boards and experienced coach Antia – and are actively seeking someone to fill the role.
“The last High Performance Director of the IABA was Gary Keegan and we’ve highlighted that we do need a High Performance Director and we hope that we will be advertising that position very soon. It may even be advertised before Christmas,” IABA CEO Fergal Carruth explained afterwards before revealing why the decision has been taken after eight years without someone in the role.
“We’ve looked at other organisations around the country. We’ve looked at our opposition in some of the other countries that have done particularly well in the Rio Games. We feel that there is absolutely a need for a High Performance Director to build an ecosystem around our high-performance athletes.”
“And I think if we can bring in a dedicated, experienced person to do that, it will be of great benefit to the IABA moving forward.”
Carruth – who admitted he would like to have someone in place before the European Championships Yakutsk, Russia next Summer – assured that Antia’s place won’t be jeopardised by the new appointment, and suggested he will be consulted at some level regarding who will come in.
“Zaur is actually a full-time employee of the organisation. He has given his undertaking that he will stay with us until at least 2021,” Carruth continued.
“It [the appointment] will be agreed at Board of Director level as it’s such a key position within the company. It’s certainly something that Zaur will be asked for input on. In terms of the other coaches that are within the organisation, they’re on fixed-term contracts and there will be no change to that structure. They will enjoy the same privileges and conditions that they’ve always been signed up to.”
“In terms of the future for the High Performance programme, that will be something that the new HP director will also have a huge say in.”
Carruth also revealed the IABA will pay respect and due diligence to all applicants and said the role doesn’t have to be filled by a current member of the boxing family.
“We will consider any of the options you’ve given. It’s absolutely not limited to just purely a boxing background. There’s high performance in many sports and we’d be looking to bring in someone who is experienced, qualified and who has a good track record in the high performance field.”
“This is a very, very big position and we’d expect applicants with a very high pedigree, with a lot of experience in the area.”
Joe O’Neill and Gavan Casey look ahead to 2017 in episode 1 of The Irish Boxing Show