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High profile sports leader joins St Andrew's

Regulus // Issue 2 // August 2023

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Joining the Sports Leadership and Development team is John Haggart, pictured chatting with Year 10 students from the Athlete Sports Development programme.With a wealth of experience in sports leadership and strategy at the highest level, former Black Ferns Assistant Coach, John Haggart, is an exciting addition to the Sports Leadership and Development team at St Andrew’s College.

John joined the College in 2022 on a contract basis, and is now a full-time member of staff. His main piece of work is the development of a comprehensive sports framework, which aligns with St Andrew’s core purpose and is underpinned by the ‘Balance is Better’ approach, developed by the wider New Zealand sports system. "Through this framework, we aim to create a cohesive sports community that keeps coaches on track and enhances our athletes’ overall journey and experience in all sports, at all levels,” says John.

His first impressions of the sports programme at St Andrew’s have been highly positive. “The opportunities and outcomes the students achieve, and the people involved with them, are outstanding. The programme is working really well. However, sometimes individual sports can get a bit siloed. Part of the work we are doing is looking at ways to share best practice to foster growth and development across the whole programme.”

John has an impressive CV, with many notable roles in the world of rugby. He served as the International High Performance Manager of the Crusaders from 2009 to 2017, was the defence coach for Stade Français Rugby in France in 2017, and was Assistant Black Ferns coach from 2018 to 2022. His latest role is as New Zealand Rugby Women's High Performance Programme Development Manager.

As a player, he represented Otago one hundred times, before transitioning to education as a Physical Education teacher, and later coaching rugby.

At St Andrew’s, John wears multiple hats. As well as his role helping to shape the future of sports leadership and strategy at the College, he teaches Physical Education, works with students in the Athlete Development programme, helps with the 1st XV and rugby programme, and has been working closely alongside Director of High Performance Sport, Rod McIntosh, to oversee the implementation of recommendations from the recent rugby review. “The review’s recommendations are benefitting the rugby programme, and have helped to clarify the role of key stakeholders, including parents, who play a crucial role in supporting their child’s sporting journey. The learnings from this process could benefit other sports too, especially in areas such as coach development.”

John’s vast experience in rugby is undeniable, but as a sports leader and strategist for the entire sports programme at St Andrew’s, he doesn’t want to be pigeon-holed as a ‘rugby person’.

He says one of his missions is to encourage optimistic thinking and above the line behaviour across all sports. “If the behaviours and actions in the sports environment are above the line from all people involved at whatever level, that’s what makes us great.”

Honouring the incredible sporting legacy of St Andrew’s College is also significant to John. “It is important that we recognise the legacy and work that has gone before and continue to tell those stories, while also telling the stories of who we are today, and who we will be tomorrow.”

Former Black Ferns Assistant Coach, John Haggart, enriches our Sports Department, leading a new sports framework for a cohesive community.