FOR THE KIDS: Long-serving administrator, teacher and coach Murray Rogers received a fitting guard of honour at Central State School. Picture: Rob Williams
FOR THE KIDS: Long-serving administrator, teacher and coach Murray Rogers received a fitting guard of honour at Central State School. Picture: Rob Williams

TOP COACHES #25-16: Serving our city proud

TRYING to finalise Ipswich's top 35 coaches from my past three and half decades at the QT has been a daring challenge. But I've attempted it.

The comprehensive project being revealed this week contains a few surprises along with many fine memories.

Ipswich has produced so many outstanding mentors and attracted a number of elite outside coaches to guide city representative sides.

Emphasis is on Ipswich loyalty and commitment.

Also see:

Let the countdown continue . . .

25. Ric Mahoney (cricket)

WELL-respected Mahoney was one of the city's leading junior cricket coaches.

Many children playing Ipswich cricket between 1960 and the 2000s were guided by his expertise.

The late Mahoney was a brilliant mentor, helping develop future Ipswich international cricketers like Shane Watson and Craig McDermott. He also inspired under age Queensland Colts players, including Allan Langer during their formative years.

Former East Ipswich all-rounder Mahoney started in Brisbane Grade cricket around World War 2 with Len Johnson and Brothers stalwart Kevin Laimer.

Injury forced his retirement and he went straight into coaching in 1958.

Away from cricket, Mahoney inspired other Ipswich sporting greats like Australian hockey player and international coach Barry Dancer. Elite mentor Dancer rated Mahoney "a great model of how people can serve their chosen sport in a selfless and tireless manner''.

Clubs like Brothers continue to honour Mahoney through junior player of the year awards.


Elite cricket coach Ric Mahoney
Elite cricket coach Ric Mahoney


24. Greg Donnelly (indoor cricket)

ACCOMPLISHED all-rounder Donnelly achieved a national milestone in 2008 while coaching in Ipswich. He shared in the Queensland indoor cricket team's Australian title success.

Based at the Ipswich Indoor Sports Centre, he helped elevate state men's and women's sides to the best in the country. He was a key figure in organising major championships for the indoor sport.

The former top-level player coached many of Australia's leading indoor cricketers including a world title-winning group from Ipswich area.

Donnelly's game knowledge and coaching skills were often praised by elite players like Donna Dalby, who acknowledged his support.

Donnelly also reached the highest level as an indoor cricket administrator, built on his coaching foundation forged at the Ipswich Showgrounds indoor venue.

The former soccer goalkeeper played a leading role in organising the 2009 World Cup.

As president of Indoor Cricket Australia, Donnelly was instrumental in the historic national merger of indoor cricket and cricket, bringing the sports under the one professional umbrella.

In 2017, Donnelly was inducted into the Indoor Cricket Hall of Fame.

Donnelly currents co-owns the Arundel Indoor Sports Centre on the Gold Coast.


International official, coach and sporting all-rounder Greg Donnelly.
International official, coach and sporting all-rounder Greg Donnelly.


23. Len Martin (cricket)

WHEN it comes to coaching country cricket, Martin is in an elite class.

He's enjoyed success with the Ipswich Pioneers in Webb and Schaefer Shield competitions and overseeing Queensland Country sides.

Martin started out in church union cricket before devoting his energy to coaching Ipswich and West Moreton Cricket Association Taverners and Brothers sides.

The North Booval resident progressed through the country ranks after mentoring teams that won seven Webb Shield titles.

He was often the coaching face of state teams at Australian Country Championships.

With long-serving captain David Richardson, Martin played a key role in helping Brothers win first grade titles in 2013 and 2018.

"He was a great orator and motivator who was able to get the best out of his talented Ipswich teams in the 2000s,'' cricket historian Wayne Jones said.


Len Martin (far right) was one of Ipswich and Queensland's leading country team representative coaches.
Len Martin (far right) was one of Ipswich and Queensland's leading country team representative coaches.


22. Geoff Jones (athletics)

MAJOR influence Jones will be remembered as a fantastic coach and a man who changed people's lives.

The Ipswich City Council surveyor was a Queensland Athletics Coach of the Year in 1987. He became the Ipswich club's first life member in 1993, when he was still coaching multi events, particularly the heptathlon.

Jones earlier became president of the Ipswich and District Athletic Club in 1986 and 1987.

Former national heptathlete Theresa Stolberg (nee Martin) was coached by Jones from age 11 into her mid-20s. She remained a good friend until his passing, aged 71, in 2013.

"If I become half the coach he was, then I would be happy," Stolberg said.

"Mr Jones, as well called him, did not flog us or push to our limits. He rather had a holistic approach to training and was good at creating team atmosphere among our squad.

"He was very knowledgeable for a volunteer coach and took the time to get to know us as people, not just athletes . . . and managed to get many of us to national levels in a variety of events.''


Respected Ipswich coach Geoff Jones brought out the best in athletes like Theresa Stolberg (nee Martin).
Respected Ipswich coach Geoff Jones brought out the best in athletes like Theresa Stolberg (nee Martin).

Jones started coaching his daughters from 1977 when the Ipswich Little Athletics Centre offered training at Bundamba. He was appointed Director of Coaching at the centre in 1981, the same year the club moved to Bill Paterson Oval.

With assistance from other coaches at the time, Jones ensured all disciplines were covered and looked after during his 25 years of coaching.

As current club president Vic Pascoe recalls, his motto was "learn and improve''.

"Even from the early days of the Ipswich and District Club, Geoff always had a squad of athletes who trained on a Monday and Wednesday night where athletes improved to the point of not only representing our club, but were able to compete for Queensland and Australia,'' Pascoe said.

They included one of the city's most successful athletic periods where Jones helped leading performers like Stolberg, Belinda Hoonhout, Deanne Kerwin, Brett Barram, Karen Dobbie, Kym Pope, Kerri Kinnane and Tim Blair.

Jones also coached at Ipswich Grammar School and became head coach at the Ipswich and District Athletic Club in 1978, taking over from city icon Bill Paterson.

Pascoe recalls joining the program and building on the wonderful mentorship of Jones, who encouraged his athletes to be model citizens of Ipswich.

Jones often oversaw club trips to country championships, travelling by Daddows Bus Company to many centres around the state until the titles ended in 2001.

He also guided athletes to the Australian Institute of Sport and to national championships.

One of the coach's traits at a training session was to throw pieces of dry grass into the air and let the wind blow through them to determine which way they should run.


Respected former Ipswich athletics coach Geoff Jones.
Respected former Ipswich athletics coach Geoff Jones.


21. Wayne and Leanne Bichel (cricket)

IF ever there was a terrific coaching partnership in Ipswich, it was between Wayne and Leanne Bichel.

The dedicated husband and wife cricket fanatics have been the backbone of the ever-improving Ipswich Logan Hornets women's program.

The former national indoor cricket representatives guided the Hornets women's team from Brisbane second grade into this season's first grade Katherine Raymont Shield competition.

They have also played vital roles in Ipswich cricket's junior development.

Wayne, from Laidley and Boonah-bred Leanne were united through indoor cricket at a time the sport was at its peak in the late 1980s.

Wayne represented Queensland, toured New Zealand and played in the 1994 World Cup.

Leanne was a keen vigoro player before moving into the indoor cricket area. She too represented Queensland in the 1990s.

The bond they formed later carried into the outdoor game where they have been dedicated coaches sharing similar development goals.


Wayne and Leanne Bichel have developed a fine women’s cricket program at the Ipswich Logan Hornets.
Wayne and Leanne Bichel have developed a fine women’s cricket program at the Ipswich Logan Hornets.



20. Bailey Pashley (athletics)

THE well-travelled former educator has enjoyed an outstanding career as a coach, mentor and teacher.

His commitment over nearly 60 years included working with the Ipswich and District Athletic Club and forming the Lockyer District Athletics Club to assist country competitors.

Among his most recent elite achievers was 2018 Commonwealth Games representative, high jumper Cassie Purdon.

One of his earlier standout performers was decathlete Damian Mednis, who Pashley coached to national level in the 1980s.

However, they are just two of the countless competitors the former Karrabin-based coach and long-time administrator inspired.

Pashley came to Ipswich in 1982 after previously coaching on the Sunshine Coast. His teaching career took him to many schools around South East Queensland, including St Mary's and Leichhardt.

He has been an Ipswich club president and worked alongside elite Queensland athletics officials for many years.

The former decathlon champion has also been lobbying hard for a much needed synthetic training track in Ipswich to reduce travel time to Brisbane and assist the exciting athletes the region is producing.

Before recently leaving the area, Pashley set up an athletic facility as his Karrabin property to make it easier for country-based athletes to access better coaching closer to home.


Long-time regional athletics coach Bailey Pashley.
Long-time regional athletics coach Bailey Pashley.



19. Trish McInally (netball)

HIGHLY regarded in Ipswich Netball Association circles, McInally has coached at grassroots and representative level for decades. That included overseeing the Ipswich Flyers team that enjoyed many years of final success in Netball Queensland competitions.

McInally's groundwork laid the foundation for the Flyers latest coach and former player Nicole Grant. She guided the Flyers to last year's Queensland Premier League SEQ Cup grand final victory, highlighting the tremendous development work and commitment from the association's representative coaches.

McInally is still coaching, involved with the Ipswich association's 17 years Queensland Premier League program. McInally has developed hundreds of young netballers, including through the introductory Net Set Go program.

She has enjoyed coaching successes with many teams at State Age Championships and state competitions.

McInally has also been Ipswich's coaching director and performed management roles.

As an award-winning volunteer for more than four decades, McInally has been a leader in organising netball clinics - supporting her commitment to coaching.

Former Ipswich Flyers and long-serving netball mentor Trish McInally.
Former Ipswich Flyers and long-serving netball mentor Trish McInally.



18. Murray Rogers (school sport, hockey)

HAVING a sporting field named after him at Central State School was a deserved reward for Ipswich's Mr Versatility.

Rogers humbly accepted that honour in 2015, marking his immense contribution to the school.

During 25 years working with Ipswich District Primary School sport, Rogers supported multiple grassroots competition, built pride and promoted participation.

The long-serving teacher was president and secretary/treasurer at district level, along with his many coaching, co-ordination and committee commitments.

Before retiring after his longest stints at the Bundamba and Central schools, he had been a delegate to the Queensland State Schools Sports Council.

About 6000 students from 25 state and independent schools were involved in regular Friday afternoon sport Rogers often oversaw.

"My real passion was Ipswich District,'' Rogers said. "Kids just love to play for their school. It's a great way of engendering some school pride.''

Rogers was a PE teacher for 30 years, organising regional trials for state championships in all sports.

The former Central State School student and later deputy principal especially enjoyed coaching the Hancock Brothers A-Grade women's hockey team to grand finals.

He also took great pride as a coach in identifying future international talent like Ipswich's 2018 Commonwealth Games silver medal-winning hockey player Jordyn Holzberger.

But throughout all his various roles, Rogers appreciated the work of other dedicated regional officials including Les Kinnane, Des Taege, Ray Leschke, Rob Tyler, Des Johnston, Judy Ziebell, Mick Long and Gary Cuthbert

"All of those people were there when I was coming through as a young teacher,'' Rogers said.

For many years, Rogers also provided valuable weekly information for the community through the QT's School Sport column.


Former regional school sports administrator Murray Rogers with the field named after him at Central State School. Murray is with wife Laurel and daughters Sara and Angie.
Former regional school sports administrator Murray Rogers with the field named after him at Central State School. Murray is with wife Laurel and daughters Sara and Angie.




17. Theresa "Marty'' Stolberg (athletics)

The Ipswich and District Athletic Club vice-president has done phenomenal work with competitors of all ages.

Popularly known as Marty, Stolberg is a dedicated coach who puts young people first and helps them rise to personal best performances.

The former state heptathlete has guided and assisted countless young club and school athletes in a range of disciplines.

Multi-talented is one of the best words to describe Marty.

Competing regularly in seven events, she was a Pan Pacific school champion in high jump. She also represented Australia in Taiwan and New Zealand.

Apart from her athletic feats as a competitor and coach, she was chosen in the Australian over-30 honorary indoor netball team.

Her coaching work around regional schools complements everything she has achieved with the Ipswich Little Athletics Centre and senior club, which is regarded one of the best in Queensland.

Former heptathlon champion Theresa Stolberg (nee Martin).
Former heptathlon champion Theresa Stolberg (nee Martin).


16. John Bell (cricket)

INNOVATIVE Ipswich born and bred wicketkeeper Bell was Queensland cricket coach in 1986, at one stage being considered for national duty.

He won numerous first grade premierships in Brisbane.

As a 16-year-old, Bell performed his behind the stumps role for Queensland Country against the 1966 English touring side.

After various higher level stints, he returned to the Ipswich area to coach Redbank Plains/Eastern Raiders sides during the 2000s after a stint at Marburg in the 1980s.

Bell also mentored the Ipswich Jets cricket team, which was a forerunner to the current Hornets franchise.

He injected considerable time and energy into developing cricket at regional level.

Bell was also keen to implement new approaches, like he did in the late 1970s and 80s when he involved former Australian baseball pitcher Kevin Albury as a fielding coach in his Wynnum club side. He also invited former international baseball coach Mike Young to be a fielding Adviser on his Queensland team support staff in 1988-89. But Bell never lost sight of what was most important in cricket.

As regional cricket historian Wayne Jones noted: "His old school, drive, passion and discipline helped mould many of his teams into fierce combative teams that knew how to win games.

"He undoubtedly is one of Ipswich most successful coaches ever in any sporting field.''

In 2010, Bell fulfilled a lifelong ambition to represent his country. He was selected vice-captain of the Australian over-60 cricket team to tour England for a three "Test" series.

Bell co-captained the Queensland team that won the national over-60 titles in Canberra that year, beating NSW in the final.


Highly regarded coach and Australian masters cricketer John Bell. Picture: David Nielsen
Highly regarded coach and Australian masters cricketer John Bell. Picture: David Nielsen


Tomorrow: The top 15 revealed.