Keating calls full-time on decorated coaching days
By Glen McCullough
5th Mar 2014
Toowoomba athletic's coach Gerrard Keating is heading in a new career direction. Kevin Farmer
TOOWOOMBA'S loss is set to become Little Athletics' gain.
After 20 years of grooming Darling Downs athletes for the national and international stage, Gerrard Keating is ending his decorated involvement with coaching in Toowoomba.
Keating has accepted a position with Little Athletics Queensland.
"It's a decision I really wrestled with but I honestly think the time is right for this change," Keating said.
"It's been a nice ride - I enjoyed it. But I'm a big believer in things happening for a reason and I'm really excited now about my next challenge."
Keating had never coached prior to arriving in Toowoomba from Ballarat where he is a Sport Hall of Fame member.
The former Australian 100-metre champion picked up his first coaching job at Toowoomba Grammar School in 1994 after answering a newspaper ad seeking a hurdles coach.
From that day, Keating went on to develop some of the region's most successful athletes.
Stawell Gift winner Nathan Allen and Australian relay team member Charlotte van Veenendaal are amongst his highest profile success stories.
"Although I was a sprinter and had never coached before I had some kids go on to national success and I thought - I can do this."
Keating enjoyed plenty of early success with emerging athletes including Pip Kehoe and Manita Sinclair from Fairholme College.
But it was 28-year-old mother of six-year-old twins, Sue Butterworth, who provided him with one of his fondest coaching memories.
"Sue wanted to get back into running to see how far she could go," Keating recalled.
"When we first started out together in 1997 she ran 12.46secs for the 100 (metres).
"Eighteen months later she ran 11.76secs and finished sixth behind Melinda Gainsford who of course was one of our best female sprinters.
"That was such a rewarding experience for both of us.
"The three Fairholme Gift wins I shared with Nathan Allen, Kieran Nielsen and Chris Wilson I also hold close to my heart.
"And Nathan's 2007 Stawell Gift win was an unbelievable experience.
"To bring that victory to the Toowoomba region was something really special.
"But without a doubt the most gifted athlete I ever worked with was Adele Herron.
"As a pure 100-metre sprinter she had everything, but unfortunately as I often experienced we never saw the best from her after life took her in a different direction."
Keating said his coaching philosophy has always remained a simple one.
"Mediocrity is often accepted, but it's never been my way. Don't think less - think more."