By Pim van Nes
Curacao Neptunus with debuting manager Evert-Jan ‘t Hoen clinched four consecutive Netherlands championships: 2013-2014-2015-2016. A few days before Holland Series 2016 versus L&D Amsterdam Pirates, Neptunus announced the release of their Grand Slam manager effective and irrespective the outcome of the best-of-seven series. At the same time Amsterdam Pirates disactivated their third base coach Ronald Jaarsma, as he had revealed that Neptunus had offered him the position of manager for next season.
Dutch journalists were eager to hear comments by Neptunus on their decision and its timing, but it took till last Friday before Neptunus president Geoffrey Kohl spoke out before RTV Rijnmond camera in Rotterdam, answering to Sinclair Bischop’s 12 questions:
Q&A in summary:
SB: Why do you take leave from a 4 on 4 successful manager?
GK: It was a board decision to judge him during the season. We planned this a year ago. After latest European Champions Cup tournament we were sure not to extend the contract.
SB: What is the exact reason?
GK: It is not due to his results (pvn: in Hoofdklasse?), but we want to win more European Cups. We have to look forward to coming up seasons. We want the team to play more aggressively.
SB: So Evert-Jan ‘t Hoen has not performed well enough?
GK: He has performed quite well, I do not want to deny this, but we want a new impulse for the team. We think the team needs it.
SB: Was he shocked when you told him? Did he expect anything like this?
GK: He was surprised, but you have to ask him if he was shocked. We spoke about it a few times.
SB: The moment Neptunus published the news was certainly a surprise. Why did you time it like this?
GK: We wanted to respect Evert-Jan’s interests. The deadline for Dutch transfers is October 31 and other clubs had been preparing 2017 rosters and staffs since over a month.
SB: How strong is the internal support for your decision? For instance the players want their manager to stay.
GK: We have decided not to listen to the players. Especially because of the person and the results of Evert-Jan, it was a difficult decision, but after all we took an unanimous decision.
SB: Should not you better consult the players in this domain? They appreciate the cooperation with the old boss. And with a new boss you have to wait and see.
GK: Yes, I agree with you, but this was our choice. Indeed, you can hold us responsable for this (pvn: after next season). But also Evert-Jan was appointed in this position without experience elsewhere.
SB: But why Ronald Jaarsma as his successor?
GK: Ronald Jaarsma was a candidate as we consider him as suitable for our club. In the past he was a Neptunus player with an own opinion about playing baseball. We think he fits in the picture we are planning for Neptunus.
SB: As you said, Jaarsma is without experience as a manager. What do you expect and require from him?
GK: Only winning a championship is not enough, yes. We want more from the team’s potential.
SB: It was not very elegant the way you parted ways with a manager, who brought you national and European titles and was awarded as best European coach.
GK: It is always difficult to part ways with a person. It was my duty to plan the way and time of informing him about it.
SB: A new season is coming up and Neptunus will again be a prominent club. Are there any new players for the new manager?
GK: We want to be prominent in Europe too, but there will not be big changes in our roster. We hope some home grown youngsters will be promoted to out first team. This has to compensate the loss of long time top player Raily Legito, who informed us about his career end this year.
SB: Congrats on your new national championship! Did you really celebrate it after the turbulence before and during Holland Series?
GK: Of course. The quality of the team and players is reliable. I spoke to the players before the series and informed them about our decision. They are all top sporters and all they want is to win: players and coaches, included Evert-Jan.