Douglas anoints Bean as his natural successor
Troy Douglas is optimistic of staying on as head coach of the Bermuda National Athletics Association after the Olympic Games.
Douglas, who has performed the all-encompassing role for the past four years, will discuss his future with Donna Raynor, the BNAA president, and board members at the end of the present Olympic cycle next month.
However, with the BNAA close to “running on zero” financially, several issues must be addressed before Douglas commits his future such as its long-term vision and annual budget.
“I'm just going to focus on the Olympic Games right now and we will meet with the board sometime after the Games to decide what's our four-year plan,” Douglas said.
“We need to decide on our direction. Finances are another thing and we have to be very mindful and conscious of that as you want to continue to deliver quality.
“We are losing money and we have to be very business-minded with the decisions we make. I'm optimistic, though, and depending on the circumstances I'm open to staying on.
“We'll have to see what the future holds and I want to keep it as professional as possible. We'll have to go over everything with a fine pen.”
The 53-year-old, one of two full-time BNAA staff, believes he still has unfinished business as head coach but does not envisage himself remaining in the position for the 2020 Olympics in Toyko.
He has already started succession plans, with the four-times Olympian identifying DeVon Bean, the present Bermuda sprint coach, as the man to replace him.
“I don't want to stay long as national coach,” said Douglas, who has not travelled to Rio after deciding it was more important for Bean to oversee his first Olympics as coach.
“I don't mind staying on for three years, but regardless of whether I stay for one more year or leave this year, I see DeVon taking over.
“This is DeVon's turn and by the time we decide where we want to go at least I know there is somebody ready to take over.
“He has the qualifications and has made giant strides in the past six months. Rio will be a wonderful experience for him.
“I'm looking forward to doing our coach's evaluation when he returns and I'll definitely be in touch with him everyday he is in Rio.”
Douglas, who became a Dutch citizen in 1998 to seek greater opportunity and income, plans to return to Holland and continue to work in athletics when he eventually steps down.
He represented Holland at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and coached for the Netherlands Athletics Federation from 2006 to 2012, guiding his men's 4x100 relay team to victory at the European Championship in his final year. His team also finished fifth at the London Games.
“I probably see my long-term future back in the cold, rainy-ass weather in the Netherlands,” he said. “I will never leave this sport, though. It's all I know.”
Asked how to rate his performance as head coach, Douglas marked himself seven out of ten and believes his “no problems, only solutions” attitude has served him well during his time at the cash-strapped association.
“There have been frustrations, but for me it's part of the job,” said Douglas, one of Bermuda's most decorated athletes.
“One of the things we've discovered during the last allocation of funding is that it's easy to tap into the things we can recycle and go into the schools like Whitney, Dellwood and TN Tatem and use their facilities and equipment instead.
“I try and find positives from frustrations and we went through these problems in the Netherlands about 30 years ago.
“One of my good friends in the Netherlands said to me, ‘You like to be in the sh*t because that's when you see everything clearer'.”
Douglas admits there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish all he aims to achieve in his post, but said he is more than prepared to make sacrifices with his time.
“I'm pretty much a full-time idiot, which is fine,” he said.
“I remember a former colleague telling me that, ‘Troy, the one thing we have to realise is that we're never going to get the same pay as a [top Dutch football coaches] Luis Van Gaal or Frank Rijkaard.
“You're always going to have to work extra hours when you're working with a 24/7 athlete.”
Assembling a team of coaches to help inspire the next generation of Bermuda athletes was Douglas's top priority when he become head coach.
Within two months at the helm he put together his coaching staff to assist him in rolling out his development programme.
He believes their thirst for knowledge and willingness to devote time to the island's athletes will be key to ensuring Bermuda athletics has a bright future.
“This is the first time we have a coaching staff,” he said. “You have Terry-Lynn [Paynter] taking care of the throws, you have Rohan [Simons] taking care of the high jump, you have DeVon doing sprints, jumps and hurdles together with Brian [Wellman].
“You also have Jarita [Vickers] and Mike [Swan] doing the 800 and up. We're also starting to integrate more coaches into the community and trying to branch out more.
“The more educated coaches we have who understand what direction we want to go and what our strong points are, the easier it will be for us to produce an Olympic champion in ten years' time.”