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TROY Coates is preparing to switch his focus from coaching to fatherhood having announced he's stepping down at Strathfieldsaye at the end of the BFNL season.
Coates told his players this week he won't be continuing in the role beyond this year, with the looming birth of he and wife Danielle's first child in February the key reason behind his decision, along with the need to take a break after seven-consecutive years of coaching.
"The reasons are as simple as the fact we're having a baby in February... Danielle is now 14 weeks, so that's exciting," Coates said on Thursday night.
"And I've been a playing coach now for seven years; it's at the stage now where my focus has changed to family, so I need to start putting all my attention into different aspects of my life.
"Coaching these days requires so much time and effort and I'm not one who wants to do it half-hearted... if I do it I want to be fully committed to it and give all the time and effort it needs, especially at such a such a successful and big club like Strathfieldsaye.
"I'm turning 33 soon and playing and coaching at Bendigo league level is challenging, so that's why I've made the decision... it's as simple as that.
"I've loved my two years coaching here and couldn't have asked any more from the playing group. I've got a great group of guys who are fully committed and have brought into everything I've done here."
Coates had big shoes to fill at the Storm, taking over from three-time premiership coach Darryl Wilson last season.
The Storm were beaten by Eaglehawk in last year's grand final, but are well placed for a crack at redemption, currently sitting two games clear at the top of the ladder with a 15-1 record and massive percentage of 304.8.
Coates has a 32-5 record from his 37 games at the helm of the Storm and while he is unsure what his playing future holds next year, he's adamant he won't be coaching anywhere else.
"Troy has done a fantastic job for us through his two years and we've got a finals series that we're looking forward to him leading us into," Storm president Glen Cowling said.
Since joining the competition in 2009 the Storm have had just three coaches - Clint Whitsed (2009-10), Wilson (2011-2017) and Coates (2018-19).
The Storm plays South Bendigo at Harry Trott Oval on Saturday.
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