TAY LETHULOE AND CARLI-ANN FURNO
February marks the formal departure of TuksCricket coach Pierre de Bruyn. The TuksCricket team recently came together in the Rembrandt Hall for a bittersweet event that celebrated their recent Varsity Cup victory, and also served as the send-off for a man to whom the club owes much of its success. De Bruyn occupied his position as head coach from February 2010 and will soon set off to England to embark on a new challenge as second team head coach and elite skills coach for Leicestershire County Cricket Club.
The event was attended by TuksSport, UP Vice-Chancellor and Principal Prof. Cheryl de la Rey, friends, and colleagues who came to pay tribute to De Bruyn’s contributions over the years. De Bruyn reflected on the defining moment of his career in a speech and said, “In 2010 I walked into a club that was under-achieving, to say the least. They had not won the premier league in three years and were riddled with internal problems. I knew I had to change this around, so I took 23 players camping. I sat around a bonfire with my boys for three nights and I got them on my side. That’s how we started this journey.”
The TuksCricket coach reached a pinnacle of his career at the university, claiming an unprecedented double win at the Red Bull Championships with the team in London in 2014 and Dehradun, India in 2015. The coach was placed in the limelight last year when he was deemed “Coach of the Year” at the Gauteng Sport Awards. Over the last six years of his career, he saw victory at the Northern Cricket Union (NCU) Premier League and NCU Knock Out Competition for five seasons, victory at the NCU T20 Competition and the Momentum National Club Championships for three seasons, victory at the USSA Cricket Tournament three times, and won the VarsityCricket trophy. Some of his other awards include five NCU Club of Excellence titles, four TuksSport Club of the Year titles, and two TuksSport Team of the Year awards.
Over and above his achievements at the club, all who attended his farewell made it clear that it was his legacy that he will be remembered for. After undoubtedly instilling a “winning culture” in the players of the club, De Bryun described his coaching relationship with the team in a specific light and said, “Every single time I drove home after training, I used to think about how this job allowed me to hold the dreams of young men in my hands, and I could not let myself mess that up.”
The team will now be under the leadership of Chris Kruger, who has begun his tenure on a high as his team claimed the 2016 VarsityCricket title. This will put them in good stead to win the Red Bull Cricket Championship for a third time as they head to Sri-Lanka later this year to represent South Africa. Kruger hopes to continue the relationships that have been formed with the players and commented on the year ahead, saying, “There are certainly big boots that I have been given to fill, but we will certainly continue the legacy of growing a brand that we are proud of. I am grateful to Pierre for the foundation he has set.”