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Champion coach . . . Oamaru Saints Trampoline Club coach Michelle Johnston (right) is interviewed by Ryan Mountney after being named coach of the year at the 2019 Waitaki Sports Awards. PHOTO: PHIL JANSSEN

After 23 years, Michelle Johnston is stepping down as the Oamaru Saints Trampoline Club head coach.

Johnston finishes in the role at the end of the season, and the club committee is desperate to find her replacement.

She said she planned to continue to coach recreationally, but it was time for somebody new to take over the competitive side.

“I just think it’s time. Maybe there might be somebody up and coming out there,” Johnston said.

When her daughter Brooke took up the sport and the previous coach left, Johnston fell into the coaching role.

With no trampoline coaching experience, and only a brief background in gymnastics, she was thrown into the deep end.

She rose to the challenge and coached many athletes to national titles over the years.

“There’s been some very successful athletes that stand out in your mind obviously, but it’s not only about that. It’s the little ones getting out there and doing it.”

Watching the younger athletes develop, gain confidence and learn discipline through trampolining had kept her going for so long.

She was happy to guide a new coach through the process of training the club’s six competitive athletes.

Club president Trina McNamara said Johnston had created an incredible club culture.

“She’s been amazing. [The club has] a huge successful history that is because of Michelle and the work that she put in,” McNamara said.

“Understandably you can only do that for so long – she’s been an incredible asset.”

The committee was looking for a new coach who had a gymnastics background or a personal training background, or understood physical exercise and movement.

“We’re looking for someone who already has the necessary qualifications, or is happy to obtain them.”

Anybody who is interested in coaching the Saints Trampoline Club, or would like more information about the role, should contact the committee at saintstramp@gmail.com.