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Hockeyroos Head Coach Paul Gaudoin Quits Amid Toxic Culture Reports

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Hockeyroos Head Coach Paul Gaudoin Quits Amid Toxic Culture Reports

Paul Gaudoin is no longer the Hockeyroos head coach.

The 45-year-old has walked away from the job amid reports of a toxic culture in the team.

The news comes just four months before the Australian women's field hockey team were set to jet off to Tokyo for the Olympic Games - a competition that they were favourites to win.

Paul Gaudoin. Credit: PA
Paul Gaudoin. Credit: PA
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An independent review had be conducted following claims made by former and current players that there was a toxic culture within the team.

The scathing report, which was released on Thursday morning, found "dysfunctional culture and leadership" in the team, which is "not conducive to athlete wellbeing or sustained on-field success".

Just hours before the damning review was released, Gaudoin handed in his resignation.

He now follows former high-performance director Toni Cumpston and assistant coach Steph Andrew out of the Hockey Australia (HA) front door.

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The sport's governing body made the announcement of Gaudoin's departure through a statement.

"This outcome has been confronting and distressing for Hockey Australia, its management, board, athletes and staff," HA said.

The Hockeyroos during the 2016 Olympics. Credit: PA
The Hockeyroos during the 2016 Olympics. Credit: PA

"While we have made a considerable investment over the last three years, including efforts to implement changes since the Rio cycle, this has not been enough to prevent rupturing of the squad's cohesion, particularly with the uncertainty rendered by COVID-19 and the delay of the Tokyo Olympics.

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"The process of this review has seen us all have significant reflections over the past months. The findings have been shared with the players and we will work with them to make changes to design and implement a cultural transformation program."

Gaudoin, who has been with the Hockeyroos since 2016, represented the men's side as a player and has three Olympic gold medals to his name.

And while the team only managed a sixth place finish at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro under his guidance, it seems Gaudoin won't get another chance to lead the team out when they finally touch down on Japanese soil.

"In light of the release of the findings and recommendations from the independent review that has been undertaken, Paul informed Hockey Australia that he has decided to stand down from the role," HA chief executive Matt Favier said.

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"The past 12 months have been a difficult and taxing time for everyone involved in the high-performance program and especially the coaching staff.

"They have had to navigate the uncertainty of COVID while being an assuring and supportive presence for players, which Paul has done.

"He has conducted himself with integrity, devotion and commitment to the cause and done his utmost to improve the athletes, both as hockey players and as people."

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As for Gaudoin himself, he seemed gutted about having to step down but didn't exactly address the claims made towards his direction.

"I have spent more than half my life involved with the high performance program as a player for the Kookaburras and as a coach for both the Hockeyroos and Kookaburras," he said.

"Whilst I am disappointed to not see out the Olympic program to Tokyo, I am proud to have helped get the Hockeyroos to be ranked second in the world.

"I wish both teams every success in Tokyo. I love our game and hope it stays relevant in a competitive sporting environment."

It's understood current assistant coach Katie Allen will step in as interim head coach until a concrete replacement is hired.

Featured Image Credit: Hockey Australia

Topics: olympics, olympic games, Tokyo Olympics, Australia

Max Sherry
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