2 Dec 2017

Don Tricker heading to the Padres

6:12 am on 2 December 2017

The former New Zealand softballer Don Tricker is leaving his job with New Zealand Rugby to work for the San Diego Padres Major League Baseball club.

Tricker has been the High Performance Manager for New Zeaalnd Rugby since 2010.

Don Tricker

Don Tricker Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Tricker, a two-time world champion New Zealand Black Sox men's softball coach, will become the San Diego Padres' director of player health and performance.

Tricker said he was both sad and excited about his departure.

"I've really enjoyed my work with New Zealand Rugby and am grateful for their confidence along with the opportunities they have provided. The opportunities that I've had in rugby have accelerated my growth both as a person and in the High Performance space.

"The Padres are an exciting and interesting team, and they think differently - in a way there are some similarities to the All Blacks. When I started with New Zealand Rugby I had an awareness of the sport but was far from a technical expert - the same can be said for the Padres. My role is to bring different thinking to a talented group of individuals that will enhance the performance of the Padres.

"This has been a tough decision to leave my home town of Porirua - as much of what I know, and how I relate to people, comes from my upbringing in a strongly multi-cultural community. I'm forever indebted to the Porirua community for what it has given me," he said.

Tricker will take up his new role in San Diego in the new year.

New Zeland Rugby (NZR) Chief Executive Steve Tew acknowledged Tricker's significant contribution to the organisation, and in particular to the All Blacks coaching and management team.

"Don started with us officially as High Performance Manager in 2010, but in reality, he had been involved with us for some time as a highly regarded performance consultant.

"Don was a key influence in the All Blacks after the difficult period that followed a disappointing 2007 Rugby World Cup campaign.

"Hugely respected across New Zealand's sports sector, Don has been a critical part of our teams' and organisation's success over the past decade. In many ways, he's been our secret weapon, with sports from all around the world seeking to understand the structures and elements that make the All Blacks so successful."

All Blacks Coach Steve Hansen said Tricker would be missed.

"Don has been a great asset to New Zealand Rugby as his skill sets are very unique but of very high value to High Performance. Personally, I'd like to thank him for his support and unwavering work to help NZR improve at all levels including the All Blacks throughout my time as Head Coach. We will all miss him, and he leaves big boots to fill. We wish him all the very best."

The Padres are hoping that some of Tricker's magic will rub off on their club.

"Don has a tremendous track record in New Zealand sports, and his knowledge and experience in player performance is highly regarded," said Padres Executive Vice President & General Manger A.J. Preller.

"He excels in team dynamics and was instrumental in New Zealand's 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cup Championships. We believe hiring a professional like Don from a continuously successful organisation like the All Blacks will be significant to our growth as a club."