Vermont has lost two premiership heroes in the past week, with senior coach Harmit Singh and noted goal kicker Jake Best both taking senior coaching roles further east, but the pair will leave the club in a better place according to President Michael Rennie.
Singh, who has taken over West Gippsland Football Netball League outfit Warragul Industrials, notified Vermont last week that he would no longer be the senior coach, with employment opportunities one of numerous factors behind the decision.
The talented coach won 55 out of a possible 61 games in this three year tenure at the powerhouse club, including back to back premierships in 2018-19, which took the purple and gold army to a total of 23 senior premierships.
Club president Michael Rennie describes Singh, who has worked with both the Essendon and Collingwood football clubs, as a very passionate and professional football person.
“He (Harmit) is someone who is very passionate about the game and it took up a fair bit of his time from week to week considering he worked in the AFL industry as well,”
“He’s very professional, he watches a lot of football, does a lot of analysis and leaves no stone unturned when it comes to preparing himself – not only for Saturday but for all of his training sessions.”
Rennie says that Singh’s influence on the club will be felt throughout the levels given the amount of work he did with the club’s junior sides along with their sponsors.
“He’s been a great club coach, doing a lot of work with the juniors, helping run our Big Brother program where all the junior age groups train with the senior players,”
“He’s excelled in player welfare, he was always keen to know how each player was feeling each week, it was something he put a real emphasis on during his time at the club,”
“Along with all of that he did a number of speaking roles, not only on match day, but also with our sponsors and some of the community events that we’ve been a part of.”
In a post on his own social media Singh wrote to the Vermont Football Club community, “I’m so proud of each and every one of you boys for your commitment and buy in on this journey as we wrote another chapter in this proud club’s history.”
Rennie believes that Singh’s mentoring of assistant coaches will another major impact from his time at the club, with benefits for both Vermont and other football clubs.
“He (Harmit) played a great mentoring role for a lot of our coaches, for the junior coaches, the coaches of the women’s team, his assistants and senior players who have gone on to coach senior clubs elsewhere.”
Jake Best who along with Adam Parker – new senior coach of Upwey Tecoma – is one of those who has decided to leave Vermont for coaching opportunities.
Best was announced as the new senior coach of Gippsland side Traralgon, who sacked coach Tim McGibney over comments he made about a Wonthaggi player on a podcast earlier this year.
Best is no stranger to the Gippsland area having last played for Leongatha in 2015 – booting 91 goals – before coming to the Eagles.
In his four years with the Eagles Best has appeared in four grand finals, won two premierships and kicked 182 goals. He was also named at number 48 in Leader Local Footy’s recent Top 50 countdown.
Rennie believes that Best will be a terrific coach if his work with Vermont’s Under 19 side is anything to go by.
“I think Jake will be an excellent coach, he did a fantastic job last year with the Under 19s, really galvanising and connecting that group of boys, with the help of Harmit, they worked really well together and the Under 19’s were able to learn a lot about the senior gameplan and the type of football that Jake wanted them to play,”
“They had a fantastic year but came up against a super strong Blackburn side in the finals, but the boys had a great year and learnt so much from Jake and I think Jake will be able to take a lot of those attributes into his new role.”
With the senior EFNL season called off in early June, Vermont, like most EFNL clubs, has been focusing on keeping the playing group engaged socially but these recent announcements have put planning for 2021 atop the priority list.
“It’s one of those things at the moment with so many unknowns it’s hard to plan ahead (functions etc), but we’ve still got our playing list getting together on a Thursday night for training and there are definitely plans to get the groups (mens and women’s) together in a social manner,”
“But at the moment the clubs focus is on getting a senior coach in place for season 2021.”