Long serving athletics coach, Roger Pedrick, passed away last Saturday after a battle with illness. A celebration of Roger's life will take place at the Adelaide Harriers Club on Sunday 31st January at 11am.
Athletics SA asked friend and founding member of the Hills Districts Athletics Club, Graham Davis, to write a short piece on Roger's involvement in South Australian athletics. The piece appears below
After a long association with Adelaide Harriers Club, both as an athlete and coach, Roger was looking for a challenge when he answered my call through an article in the local Mount Barker Courier, in 1993, for people interested in forming a new Athletics Club in the Adelaide Hills. Roger's commitment to coaching and developing raw Hills juniors was evident after ASA gave the go ahead for the formation of Hills Districts Athletic Club and a bunch of around 30 youngsters began training under his wing at Heathfield High School oval in September 1993.
Hills entered teams in ASA 1993/94 Interclub season in Under 16's and Roger's eyes lit up when his inexperienced Hills juniors began mixing it with the State's best and performing well.
For the next 15 years Roger worked tirelessly continually working with a regular bunch of Hills athletes as they grew into responsible adults and hardly ever missed a training session or competition, where he was always encouraging athletes to do the best they can, regardless of their ability. After Hills became a dominant force at local interclub, the Club travelled interstate for National Club Championships and it was here that Roger was in his element, advising and encouraging Hills athletes. He was always pleased when athletes did well and equally encouraging when they had a bad day. In 2008 Roger was awarded Life Membership for his dedication and commitment to the Club.
Roger was also a dedicated coach in the newly formed ASA Schools Coaching Development Program (1997-2005)and always loved the country road trips especially the week long jaunts to the West Coast, Riverland and South East. Many talented athletes with huge potential were identified by Roger on these trips notably, Olympian, Jess Trengove (Naracoorte) and Paralympian, Michael Roeger (Langhorne Creek). Both became regular athletes in Roger's training squad when they moved to Adelaide.
The club conducted quarterly training clinics at Naracoorte for a few years with Jess and Jack Trengove regular participants along with the likes of Nikki Donnelly, the Rowe family and many others. Roger used to try and tell me it was the hamburgers at a local Deli he enjoyed and the clinics were a matter of routine, but I knew better. It was the keenness of the group to learn and improve and become better athletes that Roger enjoyed watching the most.
Roger always said about Michael Roeger being one of the hardest working, most dedicated athletes he tutored and that the "proof is in the pudding". Roger was absolutely rapped when Roeger recently broke the 1500m world record in his division. Roger was equally excited to see Jess blitz the field at the recent Melbourne Marathon and qualify for the Rio Olympics.
Roger retired from active coaching about 7 years ago, mostly because of the politics and the direction the sport was heading was not quite how he would have liked it, but he continued to have an interest in the sport and was willing to offer advice if asked. He also loved his photography and most of the athletics pictures for the Local Courier, were taken by Roger to compliment the Club's weekly articles.
On a personal note, it was a pleasure to walk with Roger and have a coffee every week and talk about everything and discuss ways in which athletics could be improved. We didn't agree on much outside athletics, but we still managed to spend a couple of hours discussing all aspects of daily life, outside the Deli in Mylor on Friday mornings and coffee in Tranquilos on Saturday mornings. In recent times we talked about our various medical issues and compared treatment notes and from those discussions I got the impression that this is the way he'd want to go, quietly and without any fuss. I'll miss his words of wisdom, his vast knowledge on most subjects and our "time trials" around Mylor Oval. I'll have to get on Facebook now Rog to keep up with the gossip!
Rest in Peace, Mate.
(Former HDAC Manager and Friend)