Former Scotland men’s captain Kyle Coetzer has admitted the chance to join the coaching staff at the Northern Diamonds was “too good an opportunity for me to turn down”.
Coetzer this week brought the curtain down on a stellar playing career, which included 110 international caps as skipper, has arrived at Headingley as an assistant coach with the women’s regional side.
The 38-year-old met the playing squad and his fellow coaches on Monday and has travelled to Desert Springs for their near week-long pre-season tour.
This will be Coetzer’s first full-time coaching position, though he has gained extensive experience in the field alongside his playing career.
He said: “I have been coaching for the best part of eight years now and have done all my various courses and badges.
“But you don’t always get the opportunity to go straight from playing into a high performance environment such as this. So I count myself very lucky and honoured to be handed this position. It’s a very exciting time for me, and I’m looking forward to what’s ahead.
“When I was finished at Northampton eight years, I was on the ECB Level Three course. When I finished that, I was recommended by my mentor to go on to Level Four.
“I was a little bit apprehensive about it because it’s a big commitment, but I’m really glad I did it because I’ve learnt so much.
“Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to spend time with the Scotland women’s team and been on a couple of camps with the English women’s team.
“I’ve also helped out at Durham right the way through the ages to their senior England boys when they’ve needed a bit of extra help. That’s as well as some work with Northumberland.
“I’ve done a fair bit over the years, but it’s been more consultancy based – in and out because of my playing commitments.”
As excited as Coetzer is to join the Diamonds in support of head coach Dani Hazell, the players are also excited to have him.
Earlier this week, Katie Levick said: “When Kyle’s name got thrown out to us at training, I was certainly impressed. It’s definitely an exciting appointment.”
Coetzer continued: “It’s nice to hear they appear happy with the appointment, but it’s ultimately down to me to find ways to help the team and win their approval that way. That’s an exciting challenge.
“Everyone has been very friendly and welcoming so far, and I can’t wait to get to know them all.”
Despite being a prolific batter, part of Coetzer’s remit will be to help develop the bowlers alongside fellow assistant coach Richard Waite.
“Taking a batting mindset can bring a different perspective to the bowling side of things, and visa versa. Being able to open up discussions around learning from a different angle can be really useful,” he said.
“Bowling is something I’ve always loved and has been a big part of my game. But the captaincy may not have given me as many opportunities as I would have liked.
“It’s a part of the game I love, and I really enjoy the detail that goes with developing bowlers. It’s something that has felt quite natural for me if I’m honest.
“You never know all the answers, so I’ll be taking plenty of advice from colleagues and contacts to make sure I can help the players in the best way possible.”
Coetzer, who is currently based in Chester-le-Street, continued: “What a time to get involved.
“Clearly, winning the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy last year following a few close previous encounters with it was a fantastic achievement.
“That can bring different challenges when a team’s done well. You can’t rest on your laurels, and you have to find ways to continually improve and stay at the top of the game.
“But what you need to do is wipe the slate clean at the start of every year because the game never owes you anything. You’ve got to earn the right every time, and that’s what we will be working hard to do.
“I’m sure all the prep that’s been done over the winter puts us in the best place to do that.”
The Diamonds will train and face match action against the Sunrisers and South East Stars whilst in Spain, and it is clearly a hugely important trip for Coetzer personally.
He said: “It’s so important just to get to know the group and its dynamic – where I might fit in best and supplement the fantastic work of the other staff. Also understanding the players and what makes them tick will be crucial.”
If things go well for the Diamonds this summer, it could well end with a Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy final at Wantage Road in September, a place Coetzer knows all too well having played for Northamptonshire as well as Durham during his playing days. A return for a title defence would no doubt be very special for the Scot.
“Going back anywhere you’ve got history and memories is always really cool. You have to cherish any of those moments,” he said.
“Potentially going down there would be really special and exciting. But there’s a lot of water to go under the bridge before then. Let’s see how we get on.”
And on his retirement as a player, he added: “To be honest, there’s not enough words, and it’s hard to put it all down.
“From the day I got picked as a young kid, 26 years ago, and entered the junior stages as a Scotland player, there’s so many memories and people to thank.
“I’m extremely proud of what I’ve achieved, and I was only loaning that shirt for that length of time. Now it’s time for others to take it on.”