Record-breaking umpire Hayden Kennedy has been appointed as senior coach to the AFL umpiring list.
AFL General Manager Football Operations Mark Evans today said that Kennedy, who holds the all-time AFL umpiring record of 495 senior games and officiated in five Grand Finals in a decorated career, had been chosen as the successful applicant to replace the retired Rowan Sawers.
Kennedy umpired Grand Finals in 1995, 1997, 1998, 2000 and 2003 after debuting in 1988 and, on his retirement in the 2011 season, joined the AFL as an assistant coach to the umpiring department.
After two seasons working with the AFL senior umpire list, he will now take over immediately as Senior Umpires Coach, Evans said.
“I am delighted to announce that Hayden Kennedy will succeed Rowan Sawers, to build on the platform established for the development of the senior AFL umpiring list,” Evans said.
“Hayden was an outstanding umpire who had the confidence and trust of players and clubs with his decision-making ability and his skills to communicate and keep control of difficult situations.
“His background in teaching, and his ability to build relationships with people, made him the outstanding candidate to further develop AFL umpires to serve the national competition,” he said.
Kennedy’s appointment was advised to all AFL clubs today.
“It’s a great challenge to take on the job as Senior Umpires Coach and my primary responsibility will be to continue to develop our list and produce the best umpires,” Kennedy said.
“I’m looking forward to the 2014 season and I will be working closely with clubs to ensure the best outcome for everyone involved in AFL matches, so that clubs are aware of how umpires will approach games and umpires know what is expected from their performances,” he said.
Separately, Mr Evans said the appointment of the new AFL National Umpiring Director to replace Jeff Gieschen should be made before the end to the year.