New Zealand rowing coach Richard Tonks has captured the sport's greatest coaching accolade - the FISA Coach of the Year Award - for the third time. He won the award in 2005 and in 2010 as well.
Gold medals for Mah Drysdale and the men's pair of Eric Murray and Hamish Bond, and the overseeing of a programme which also included a gold for the heavyweight double scull and two bronze medals were enough to secure Tonks' FISA Coach of the Year title at the world governing body's annual awards last night in Europe at the World Rowing Awards Gala Dinner in Limerick, Ireland at Knappogue Castle.
The 2012 World Rowing Awards selection process began with the submission of nearly 1,000 nominations from the world of rowing. The FISA Council then voted for the finalists. These were then submitted to FISA's Executive Committee who selected the final winners.
World Rowing's press statement said: "When New Zealand picked up an unprecedented five medals at the London 2012 Olympic Games it was clear that their head coach Dick Tonks was behind this success. Tonks has been the brains and sweat behind the amazing success of New Zealand rowing. In London, the men's pair of Hamish Bond and Eric Murray completed a perfect Olympic cycle by remaining unbeaten since forming a crew in 2009. Tonks is also the coach behind Olympic Champion in the men's single sculls, Mah Drysdale. As a five-time World Champion and two-time Olympic medallist Drysdale is New Zealand's most successful single sculler."
Tonks was also the architect behind the two gold medals of the Evers-Swindell twins and Rob Waddell, to name a few. An Olympic medallist from the 1972 Munich Games, Tonks began as a volunteer coach in his home town of Wanganui where he worked night shift at a factory so that he could coach during the day.