Hockey Australia (HA) has announced highly experienced operator Bernard Savage as its new High Performance Director.
Savage has spent the past five years as Rowing Australia’s Performance Director, which included the rowing team’s highly successful Tokyo 2020 Olympic campaign.
During Savage’s tenure, Rowing Australia was named the High Performance Program of the Year at the AIS Sport Performance Awards in 2019.
Having also held down senior high performance roles at Triathlon Australia and Swimming Australia, Savage has over 25 years-experience working in successful Australian high performance sporting environments.
“Bernard has extensive experience across numerous Olympic sports and in those roles he demonstrated the importance he places on the people in those programs,” said HA President Mel Woosnam.
“We were looking for a candidate that could help shape our high performance program and ensure the Kookaburras and Hockeyroos continue to be world class…to challenge the status quo and take Australian hockey to the next level right across the board.”
“We are confident Bernard is the person to do that. This is a really good news story for hockey to have someone of Bernard’s calibre joining the organisation.”
Upon Savage’s appointment, Woosnam also thanked Dee Jennings who has been fulfilling the role since the start of the year.
“Dee did an incredible amount of work getting our teams to Tokyo given the huge amount of challenges and changes that were thrown at her last minute due to COVID. Her resilience and ability to adapt was outstanding,” said Woosnam.
Savage sees his new position and the responsibility that comes with it as an exciting opportunity.
“Hockey has a long history of success on the world stage, both men and women. I’m looking forward to consolidating on the performances both teams had in Tokyo and building from there,” said Savage.
“I am going to be doing a lot of listening, getting a sense of the environment and looking for the opportunities.
“Lots has been said about the challenges the sport has had recently and we will address these, but there is a lot of opportunity in there as well.
“I’m looking forward to playing a key leadership role in driving a strong performance based culture, one that understands the intrinsic link between broader wellbeing and performance outcomes. This will be a key part of taking the sport forward.”
“All high performance environments have pressure, this is critical to drive success at the highest levels of sport.
“Pressure can be something you fear or you embrace, and I’m looking forward to embracing it for all its positivity and opportunity that it brings.”
Savage will be based in Perth where HA’s High Performance unit is situated and where his wife Kath has been residing for the past 18 months for work.
“This is a professional challenge and opportunity, but it’s also nice to be in the same city as Kath after a long period apart,” said Savage.
Savage is expected to start in early December 2021.