Assistant coach of Wits Men’s team levels up to the head coach position of the Ladies Hockey team.

The Wits men’s 1st team assistant coach has been appointed as the new Wits ladies hockey head coach as of Friday, August 23.

Twenty-eight year old Gilbert De Villiers who joined Wits hockey in May 2019, replaces former South African hockey striker Pietie Coetzee-Turner who had coached the women’s side since 2014. 

“I see this as a new challenge and something out of my comfort zone. I feel I can grow as a coach by learning from different players,” De Villiers told Wits Vuvuzela.

After a successful year as the assistant coach of the Wits men’s team, De Villiers was the ideal candidate for ladies team coaching position, according to the Wits head of hockey, Sharmin Naidoo.

Naidoo said they were looking for a coach with “a winning culture and a track record but more importantly someone with emotional intelligence and a good understanding of creating and building strong relationships”.

“Change can be exciting,” said Naidoo. “I think Gilbert is going to add an exciting new flavour to the ladies’ programme. The ladies are looking forward to having him on board.”

Storme Johnson, hockey director and first-year BA law student, said some of the key things that come with De Villiers’ appointment is “excitement, change, consistency, new, difference, challenge, and productivity, special and fun.”

“One thing with ‘Gilly’ (De Villers), coming in is that he is a male coach, which is a little bit different for us. I think it’s going to be very different but everyone is extremely excited.”

“It seems wherever he helps out he comes out with a medal, which is quite impressive. We’re only going to get better with him,” said Johnson.

De Villiers pointed out that management styles between the ladies and men are different. His coaching philosophy is tailor-made to suit every player.

“I try to have quite a personal style of coaching, with the aim of getting the best out of each individual, that will make them better players and individuals that will add value to society once they leave varsity,” he said.

The hockey season will start in May 2020 with pre-season training taking place in January.

FEATURED IMAGE: New head coach of the Wits Ladies Hockey team, Gilbert De Villiers, eagerly awaiting the upcoming season. Photo: Provided.