MARTY Berry is a former All Black and has vast coaching experience in New Zealand.
But most importantly for Hamilton president Lesa Mason, the Hawks' new coach will not be intimidated by the club's unprecedented success.
Berry takes the controls from Scott Coleman, who will again steer the Hunter Wildfires in the Sydney Shute Shield.
Coleman leaves big shoes to fill after guiding the Hawks to a record five straight Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union premierships.
Since Coleman, affectionately known as Bubba, took the reins in 2008, Hamilton have played in the grand final every year bar 2014 when he had a year coaching in Italy.
"A lot of people would be intimidated by the fact they are stepping in after Bubba," Mason said. "Marty doesn't know Bubba and, while he is aware of the club's success, he will come in and do his own thing.
"Hopefully people don't compare him too much to Bubba, because they are different people. Each coach has their own style and own philosophy. Marty has a philosophy of building players into great men, which is something that really resonated with me."
A utility back, Berry played Super rugby for Wellington and played 11 times for the All Blacks, earning one Test cap against the Wallabies in 1986. He also had a stint in South Africa at Transvaal and spent two years in Italy before turning to coaching.
The majority of his coaching has been in New Zealand.
"He was meant to be going to Canada but with COVID that didn't happen," Mason said. "Ryan Dunnett, who did some coaching at the Hawks, saw our advertisement on facebook and put Marty in contact with us.
"His son, Rocco, plays for the Auckland Warriors who will be based in Terrigal, so he is super keen to come over and be involved with rugby and hopefully lead us to another premiership.
"He arrives on January 16 and the first training session is January 19. We have had a few zoom hook-ups and things like that. He will hit the ground running."
With the NHRU competition canned last season due to COVID-19, at least 10 Hawks followed Coleman to the Wildfires after they were invited to compete in a shortened season which started in July.
"We will lose some players, but we also have a few coming back and the depth of the club is strong," Mason said. "Marty is going to bring two guys with him, which will help the backline."
Mason is the first female president of a premier club and takes over from Brett Sutherland, who stood down.
Sutherland's son Byron has is playing with Easts in Sydney and has earned a place in the NSW Waratah academy squad.
"Sutho has tried to leave twice and we convinced him to stay," Mason said. "He said this was the time to step away. His son Byron has signed with the NSW Waratahs academy which is massive.
"I had a couple of people - old boys through to players - urging me to stick my hand up. I have run the juniors for the past 16 years. It has already been a lot different to the juniors landscape.
"As the new president, I am trying to building the camaraderie after having no competition this year. People do other things and rugby is not at front of mind.
"Once we get over Christmas and New Year, people will start thinking about rugby. We are starting to pump up our presence on social media and get some interest."