Leo Tenace credits players and support crew for Coach of the Year success

By Andrew Johnston

LEO Tenace loves when his players succeed.

As a coach, his focus is helping the young men he guides grow and become the best players they can.

In the 2019 season, his charges delivered in spades, and Tenace has been rewarded for his work by being named the Echuca Moama Sportstar Coach of the Year.

Tenace began 2019 by coaching the Echuca Pirates to their first senior premiership in association history, turning a 2-10 side the year before into a 9-3 home and away campaign, before guiding the side past Bendigo in the semi-final and Mildura in the grand final.

Returning to the football field, Tenace’s Echuca under 18s became just the second side in GVL under 18 history to complete a season undefeated, being named premiers and champions.

Tenace was quick to deflect when given the award on Monday night, saying it was his players and support staff who had made him.

“It’s really good to get the award, no doubt,” he said.

“But it’s about the people who help get you there. Those who drive you deserve as much of the accolades as anyone. We don’t get to have success like this without the support of so many great people.”

And in typical Tenace style, he wanted nothing more than to discuss the achievements of others.

“I have coached two magnificent groups of young men,” he said.

“The footballers have played above their level, they adopted a senior style of play which involves a great deal of work, but they have always put in the effort to succeed and it showed in their results.

“It was the same in the basketball sense, all our players were willing to put in the work and battle to win, and after a few rough years, we finally saw them get the results they were due.

“I was very lucky.”

When asked about his future on stage, Tenace suggested one more season in both sports might see the end of the line.

And he was not willing to change that view after award.

“Nope,” he laughed.

“I’m going out on top.”

Though he was soon more real to the idea.

“It will come to an end at some stage, probably sooner rather than later, but you really do never know.

“I love the roles of coaching, I really enjoy being a part of the different sports, so we will see down the line.”