Andrew Douglas: Meet Hautapu Sports Club’s new general manager

posted in: Hockey, Juniors, Netball, News, Rugby

A 30-year career in sport and education has prepared Andrew Douglas well for his latest challenge — his role as Hautapu Sports Club’s first full-time general manager.

As 2023 gets underway, Douglas (52) is getting to grips with ‘big picture’ requirements to ensure the long-term sustainability of the club, while also making sure its day-to-day operations run smoothly.

“Volunteers have built a successful club but we’re now at a size that we needed a role that would help pull everything together,” he says.

The club finished 2022 with more than 250 senior members who played rugby, netball or summer touch, and more than 1,100 children who played rugby, netball, hockey and summer touch. The club also has more than 400 non-playing members.

Being a family man also gives him an understanding of what’s required to help families support and encourage children whose sports involvement is just beginning.

Where it all started

Douglas first became part of the Hautapu club in 1997 when he was an injury-hampered first five, just back from a spell overseas.

Coach Kevin Cronin saw the potential for Douglas — a teacher, by profession — to move into coaching.

Two years of coaching the B team provided a good grounding and he headed overseas again.

In 2006, Douglas returned to coach the club’s Premier rugby side and in three seasons, the team twice won the championship and were runners-up for the other season.

Douglas was employed as Sports Manager and then Deputy Principal at St Peter’s, Cambridge, from where he also coached the NZ Secondary Schools team from 2009-2011.

The lure of life overseas drew Douglas back to Europe, where he coached Biella in Italy (2017-18) and then Japanese club Toyota Shokki in Japan (2018-19).

From Japan, Douglas headed to the United States to become the coach of Old Glory DC in 2019, a year after its foundation as a professional club playing in the Major League Rugby (MLR).

A timely return to home town Cambridge

Douglas stayed there till his return to New Zealand, and Cambridge, in mid-2022.

His arrival was timely, as Hautapu Sports Club’s growth was such that its executive committee started to look to establish a new, full-time role of general manager.

It suited Douglas well, giving him the chance to draw on his experience of top-level rugby, in amateur and professional environments, as well as his work in the education sector, and his understanding of children and young adults.

Married to Gabby, the Douglas family also includes daughter Isabella (23) and son Jack (21).

“I know what it’s like to be a sporting parent and think I have the skills and experience to relate to the families whose children are our youngest members,” Douglas says.

In simple terms, Douglas sees his role as “driving the club forward”, on and off the sports fields and courts its members play on.

A role that’s full of opportunity

Priorities are around member involvement in the club, and helping performance all-round.

“It’s also important we find ways to future-proof the club, to make sure what we do is sustainable,” he says.

Volunteers and the strong support of the Cambridge community are an essential part of the club’s success and he will work to help build that.

The “sleeves-up” side of the job will see Douglas supporting co-ordinators of the club’s junior sports, as well as supporting senior coaches and helping new players settle in.

Finding and looking after sponsors, liaising with key organisations such as the Waipa District Council and managing the use of club facilities all fall within his remit.

And to ensure his skills are fully utilised, Douglas will also be an assistant coach with the club’s Premier A rugby squad.

The role is full of opportunity — and Douglas is ready to make the most of it.

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