By Megan Maurice

The countdown is on to the UNSW Blues and Sport Awards Dinner, one of the highlights of the UNSW sporting calendar. Last week we considered the nominees in some of our athlete categories and now is the time to turn our attention to the prestigious Coach and Administrator of the Year Awards.

Coach of the Year

Always a hotly contested category, the Coach of the Year Award rewards excellence during the 2019 season, as well as considering each coach's contribution to their sport and club, their hard work and their support of their athletes. With so many deserving nominees in the UNSW sporting community, it will be a tough one for the awards committee to pick.

Taekwondo coach Noori Chung believes "there's no such thing as not good enough, only not good enough yet." It is this motto that has driven UNSW Taekwondo to continuously reach competitive excellence in 2019. Under his direction and vision over the past 10 years, the small recreational club has evolved into a highly successful competitive club whilst preserving the close-knit support of a family.

Carlos Guillermo Ledezma leads the UNSW Underwater Rugby Club as head coach, where he is much revered by his athletes. His efforts across the season with three training sessions each week as well as the regular Sydney wide competition, national competitions and the Steinfeld Cup. He is a strategic thinker who is always pushing and challenging his players to be better.

UNSW Judo coach Ivica Pavlinic has played an integral role in the growth and development of his athletes and the club as a whole. Ivica has demonstrated his ability and commitment to developing beginners into exceptional athletes as well as driving the growth of already competitive judoka. Ivica coaches individuals from all ages from Junior boys right through to Veteran competitors. As a professional athlete, he has brought a wealth of expertise to his coaching practice and continually adopts innovative practices into his coaching methods.

Corey Richards has continued to bring his wealth of experience and coaching talent to the UNSW Cricket Club. During the last five years he has undertaken a detailed and holistic approach to making the necessary changes to the club's playing and off field culture to keep pace with the other 19 clubs in the NSW Premier Cricket competition, which is generally regarded as the highest standard of weekend club cricket in the world. In the 2018/2019 season the performance of all teams across the five grades lifted as his leadership took them to new standards.

Dean Towers came to the UNSW-Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs direct from his playing career at the Sydney Swans and set about using his experience and knowledge as a professional player to drive standards and culture at the club. Dean both played and coached for the 2019 season. He was seminal in the Men's Premier Division team's back-to-back grand final victory. He has also been instrumental in transferring his knowledge from the professional AFL league to local level football.

Andrew Yanitsas is a highly experienced water polo coach who has been leading the UNSW-Wests Magpies in the Australian Water Polo League. Andrew has coached the team to four national titles in six years, including a strong win in 2019. His strength as a coach and a leader has been instrumental in attracting high profile players to the club and has allowed them to grow even stronger over the seasons.

Administrator of the Year
The lifeblood of our clubs, administrators are key to ensuring our sporting community is strong and gets out on the fields, courts, mats and pools each week. With so many strong administrative leaders at UNSW, this is another tough category to pick.

Maria Lastra Cagigas is the president of the UNSW Outdoor Club and is an inspirational leader in one of UNSW's most active clubs. She supports her executive in their roles, encourages her members to be creative and aims to push the boundaries of the club further into the adventure, while making her whole community proud. She has led the club through snow camping, rock climbing, abseiling, hiking and many more adventures.

John Morrison is the president of the UNSW Rugby Club and provided the impetus for the club to get on the front foot with administration and handling of items. John balances this role with his position as Chair of Suburban Rugby, where he uses his influence to push for positive change. In 2019 John was the driving force behind the club's 70th Anniversary Ball, which saw over 240 guests flock to Doltone House to celebrate the club. This provided a major funding source for the club's scholarship fund.

Keira Nightingale is the force behind the UNSW Netball Club, having contributed to the development of the club for seven years - two of those as president. Under her leadership, the club has undertaken a rebranding, grown to 120 members and delivered a new website. Player signup has increased due to creative and innovative advertising techniques and her ability to create an inclusive club culture. Keira has also taken on the Coaching Coordinator role, while also being personally involved in training eight teams - coaching the club's first Intermediate team to a premiership in 2019.

President of the UNSW Waterski & Wakeboard Club Ellen Rowles continually works hard to grow and develop the club, attracting new members and developing an exciting and varied event calendar for each year. Passionate about the club and their activities, she is a strong figure who guides the club's growing community of both veteran boarders and skiiers, as well as adventurous first-timers to ensure the club is welcoming, inclusive and community-focused.

During 2019 Jacky Yu has been an important driving force for the UNSW Taido club and organised several SHE CAN events, O-week stall and demonstrations, being part of the exec committee and giving a lot of his time to grow the club. During this year he has also worked hard on his own development in Taido, achieving the grade of black belt. Following this achievement, he has taken on the responsibility to train and mentor the younger members in the club.

Don't miss out on finding out who the winners are - get your tickets to the UNSW Blues and Sport Awards Dinner now!