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Tacking Point SLSC member, Mick Lang believes that recognition for the smaller clubs is immeasurable for growth after he was named the Coach of the Year at the Surf Life Saving NSW Awards of Excellence.

Mick’s award and that of Administrator of the Year, Ian Latham, from Wauchope Bonny Hills SLSC, serve as just reward for a year of tireless effort and significant progress at both clubs, and across the Mid North Coast Branch.

In a trying environment following a season heavily impacted by COVID-19, it’s recognition of this nature which puts clubs in the region on the path towards sustainable, longer term success.

“There are so many very good coaches out there, but it’s nice to be recognised by Surf Life Saving NSW from a very small country club,” Mick said.

“It’s the young kids out there who can see that we’re getting recognised, then they want to come back to train and improve.

“A lot of the bigger clubs might have more opportunities, but it’s nice to know that there is recognition out there for the collective efforts of the smaller clubs.”

Mick’s commitment to Tacking Point SLSC and his Branch is evident every weekend on the sand and in the ocean.

Having noted a lack of training and coaching Branch-wide, Mick took on the role of Branch Coaching Coordinator and was instrumental in overhauling the existing regime and creating a structure from which the Branch can be more competitive and stronger in all levels of competition.

His Saturday morning ‘Club coaching and training’ sessions are extremely popular, where those looking to hone their board and surf skills, no matter their age, are encouraged to come and learn.

“I just like to see the improvement of the members that I coach,” Mick said.

“When you see some of the young kids, you’re coaching them one year, then you don’t see them in the offseason, but they come back and they’re keen to improve, it’s what we do it for.

“I’d also like to say a lot of the bigger clubs in Sydney have helped where they can, I run ideas by a lot of the bigger clubs.

“We’re all in this together to help each other.”

Following his retirement from his career in Education, fellow award winner Ian Latham has proven an asset to the Wauchope Bonny Hills club – shaping the strategic direction, ensuring financial, social and structural visibility, and always being the first to roll up his sleeves and offer help above and beyond his remit.

Speaking prior to claiming the award on Saturday night, Ian acknowledged that while he has put in countless hours and effort to help grow his club, there is a very welcome reward every weekend over the summer.

“To see young people turning up for their first Nipper session and the joy and pride they get putting on their gear and running down to the water, the parents gushing over their kids, the teenagers who go on to their first patrol, that’s what it’s all about,” Ian said.