By SAM SHALDERS
ARARAT - Scott Turner has announced that he will be stepping down from his role as Ararat Rats' senior coach at the end of the season.
Turner, who has held the Rats' top job for four seasons (2008-10, 2012), cited family as the main reason behind his decision.
"It is mainly with (son) Paddy coming through into the under 14s and the time and commitment that stems from that," Turner said.
"Every week it will be early mornings and even the times I've done it this year, particularly with the away games, it is so early and you spend all day thinking about the game so much so that you feel mentally drained by the time it rolls around.
"You have to have 100 percent commitment to the role and with Paddy in the juniors I'm not going to be able to do that because my focus will be on him."
Turner made the announcement to the senior playing group at training on Tuesday night.
The vacating coach said he was committed to seeing the year out, but wanted to make his decision public now to give the club plenty of time to search for a replacement.
"Recently I spoke with a couple of the guys on the committee and told them I was not going to be able to be as valuable and committed as a senior coach needs to be (beyond 2012)," he said.
"The club needs the time to recruit someone and see what options are out there, so I wanted to give them plenty of notice."
Ararat Football Club president Paul Cocking said he fully accepts Turner's reasons for not wishing to re-apply for the position and that measures are now being put in place to fill the role.
"I found out two weeks ago and with his circumstances with Paddy playing under 14s and getting to the ground really early, it is a long day so what he is saying is legit, and I agree and support his decision," he said.
"We spoke about the process at the last committee meeting and that's why he was asked a month or so ago about his intentions, so we could be on the front foot if he decided not to re-apply for the position."
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Cocking said the Ararat Football Club would begin advertising for the role next week and that the club would be working hard to get 'the best available coach out there'.
Turner retired from the AFL in 1999 after playing 144 games with Richmond, before going on to coach the Warrnambool Football Club to back to back Hampden League premierships in 2000 and 2001. He returned to Ararat in 2008 to take the helm as senior coach and led the young side to a finals berth.
"With the type of players he has had, I think he has done a fairly good job during his four seasons as coach," Cocking said.
Under Turner the Rats were involved in two finals campaigns in 2008 and 2010, which the coach said were his main highlights.
"Playing finals is what you play football for, but another highlight would be seeing the development of some of the boys, whether it was Lauchie Dalgleish or Jake Robinson now with the Rebels," he said.
"We've also got a couple coming through like Xave Vearing who has got a good opportunity. He has got the height, agility and the ability to improve further which is exciting.
"Also Alan Batchelor going on to win a Toohey Medal was a highlight during those four years. You have your ups and downs, but the positives are always good to look back on and are something to be proud of."
Turner now hopes to become more involved with the club's junior footballers and help continue their development.
With winnable games against Horsham RSL Diggers, Stawell and Nhill in the coming weeks, the injury ravaged senior team will be hoping to dig deep and give their coach the send off he deserves.
"Yeah injuries have hit us hard this year, but I hope people don't think I'm jumping ship because of that, it is really just for the reasons I have given," Turner said.
"I will be sticking around through the good and bad times at the club, particularly with the involvement in the under 14s and 17s, and hopefully I can help Ararat in some way to its next premiership."