Melbourne:Former Indian hockey team's Technical Adviser Ric Charlesworth has been appointed as coach of the Australian men's team till the 2012 London Olympics, Hockey Australia announced on Tuesday.
Charlesworth, arguably Australia's most credentialed player and coach ever, will take up the reins of the national men's team following the retirement of Barry Dancer who lead the side through the last two Olympic campaigns.
In another announcement, Frank Murray has retained his position as coach of the of the women's team after taking on the role in 2004.
Although this will be Chalesworth's first tenure as coach of the Australian men's team, his coaching history is impeccable, leading the women's side through one of the most successful periods of any sporting team in the nation's history.
At the helm of the women's team from 1993-2000, Charlesworth, 55, led the Australian eves to triumphs at the 1993, 1997 and 1999 Champions Trophies, 1994 and 1998 World Cups and the 1998 Commonwealth Games and back to back gold medals at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and the 2000 Sydney Games.
After his stint with the Australian eves, the hockey legend also served as the High Performance Manager for the New Zealand cricket team, but he later quit the job to take up the post of the Technical Adviser of the Indian Hockey Federation.
However, his association with the Indian hockey lasted only four months following his sudden resignation from the post earlier this year citing inadequate working conditions.
After he quit the India job, Charlesworth had no hestitation in expressing his desire to coach the Australian men's team.
"I was asked if I wanted to do the job in 2000, but I needed a break from coaching. I was thinking that in 2004 I would go back but the job wasn't available then. I've been watching the team's performance in recent time but I was doing other things and the opportunity wasn't there," Charlesworth said after his appointment.
Charlesworth said his focus will essentially be on building a new team following retirements of many players after the Beijing Olympics.
"The team changes all the time and the team which played in Beijing will never play together again. The job really is about building a new team and only a handful of the players playing now will be under 30 at the next Olympics.
"I think in terms of the program, there were a lot of good things that were happening. So you want to keep those things going and then you want to add and embellish those areas that need improvement," he said.