Craig Hilliard, a renowned Australian athletics coach for more than thirty years, has today been announced as Head Coach by Athletics Australia President David Grace QC.
“The Athletics Australia Board of Directors are very pleased to confirm the appointment of Craig Hilliard to the position of Athletics Australia Head Coach. He boasts an extensive career as a distinguished Australian athletics coach and he will bring a broad base of knowledge and experience to the role,” Grace said.
“This position is vital to the execution of our high performance programs and we have reached the decision to appoint Craig after completing extensive due diligence in respect to a number of highly credentialed applicants. I am confident that Craig will deliver on the high expectations that we, as a sport, demand and we eagerly anticipate his involvement in the preparation of Australian teams set to compete across the world in the coming months.”
Hilliard had been employed as an athletics coach by the Australian Institute of Sport since 1982, before becoming the Athletics Australia Senior Athletics Coach and Mentor in 2013. He has on twelve occasions acted as Head Coach for a touring Australian athletics team, most recently at the 2014 IAAF World Race Walking Cup, as well as being appointed as a Team Coach on a further twenty-three Australian teams, including six Olympic Games, seven Commonwealth Games and ten IAAF World Championships.
As a former personal coach to athletes including Sue Cook (race walk), Simon Baker (race walk), Jane Flemming (heptathlon), Kerry Saxby-Junna (race walk), Nathan Deakes (race walk), Jai Taurima (long jump), Jana Pittman (400m hurdles), David Smith (race walk) and Nicole Boegman-Stewart (long jump), Hilliard has a breadth of experience in multiple athletics disciplines. His charges have added eleven gold, twelve silver and two bronze to the green and gold tally at open major championships including the Olympic Games, the Commonwealth Games, the IAAF World Championships, the IAAF World Indoor Championships and the IAAF World Race Walking Cup.
Hilliard’s success has led to him winning the Athletics Australia Coach of the Year Award on three occasions (1994, 2002, 2007), the Australian Institute of Sport Coach of the Year Award in 2007, the Henri Schubert Award in 2000 and the Individual Coach of the Year Award from the Australian Coaching Council in 1990. He was inducted as an Athletics Australia Life Member in 2013.
Eager to begin his new role, Hilliard is motivated by the challenge of steering Australian athletes to success both domestically, and on the world stage. He will consult and engage the many talented personal coaches across the nation and will work to further develop the team culture of travelling Australian squads.
“I’m very much looking forward to getting started, it’s a great opportunity,” Hilliard said.
“From the outset, my main aim will be to build on my strong working relationship with Athletics Australia’s high performance staff and coaches, and even more importantly, our NASS athletes and their personal coaches. I want to ensure that we work together to achieve our common aim of delivering the best possible performance outcomes, including global medals. This will be facilitated by gaining the trust and confidence of athletes, coaches and other key stakeholders, as well as the broader athletics community.
“I am excited about the future of our sport. The emerging talent that was showcased at the Australian Junior Athletics Championships last month and the recent Australian Athletics Championships in Brisbane augurs well for the next Olympic cycle.”
Athletics Australia High Performance Director, Simon Nathan, is very pleased to be able to appoint such an experienced and respected Head Coach.
“It was great for us to have had so many quality applicants both domestically and from overseas and is even better that we have been able to appoint an Australian as the successful candidate,” Nathan said.
“Craig has coached a number of medallists across multiple events, he’s a well-respected coach here in Australia and he did a fantastic job stepping into the role of Head Coach in the midst of the Commonwealth Games last year. He highlighted that he can work very well with our athletes and coaches, and most certainly assist in delivering their best performances.
“I very much look forward to working with him as the IAAF World Championships in Beijing fast approach and beyond that as we strive toward success at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.”
Nathan also confirmed the appointment of Alison Campbell to the position of Athletics Australia High Performance Services Manager today, after the position was determined vital by the organisation to ensure the optimal delivery of our broad service base.
Campbell will be responsible for the management of Athletics Australia’s sports science services, the coordination of Athletics Australia’s medical services and the implementation of professional development opportunities for employed coaches of the organisation. A physiotherapist by training, she has most recently served as both the Senior Manager for Performance and the Sports Science and Sports Medicine Manager at the Australian Paralympic Committee.
“The High Performance Services Manager role was the second of two positions that Athletics Australia has been seeking to fill, and it is great to be able confirm Alison Campbell as the successful candidate,” Nathan said.
“We now have a complete high performance management team, with the busy international season just around the corner. Alison’s experience with the Australian Paralympic Committee, amongst other roles, ensures that she will more than capably contribute to the management of our sports science and sports medicine undertakings.”
Hilliard and Campbell will both commence in their new roles with Athletics Australia on Monday 27 April.
Hilliard will be based at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, making regular visits to the Athletics Australia offices in Melbourne and athlete training facilities across the sport institute and sports academy network. Campbell will be based in Melbourne full-time.