RUPANYUP has become the final Horsham District Football League team to announce its senior coach for 2014, with Mick Finnigan appointed to the position.
Finnigan was joint playing coach of the Panthers in 1978-79 and coached at several clubs after leaving Rupanyup.
He has not coached a senior team for more than a decade, but has coached junior teams at Minyip-Murtoa in the Wimmera Football League.
Rupanyup president Jan Dunlop said the club was thrilled to sign him.
"We are delighted to have someone with Mick's enormous amount of football knowledge and experience on board," she said.
"He has been away from the game in an official capacity for a while, but his interest and love of the game has never waned."
Finnigan becomes the last district league coach to be appointed as every other club had appointed coaches for the upcoming season before Christmas.
Despite his late start, Finnigan said the club would not be at a disadvantage.
"The boys are pretty dedicated over there and it was pretty pleasing to know that while this was being finalised, a couple of the boys who are well-respected had organised training," he said.
"I started on Tuesday night and the first session was really good considering what's happening with school holidays and fires and all the rest of it."
Finnigan said he had extremely fond memories of Rupanyup from his first stint as a coach, which was his first ever coaching appointment.
He said he was looking forward to taking the reigns at the Panthers once again.
"I saw it as a bit of a challenge and I basically always had some ties to Rupanyup even though they're not my home club as such," he said.
"They're a good club and they're all good people, and I can still vividly remember my couple of years at Rupanyup they're something you don't forget.
"It was a very hard decision in some respects when I'm a life member at Minyip-Murtoa having coached Murtoa for years, but they're in a different league and I've never been one to knock back a challenge."
Finnigan said he wanted to help build success at the club both on and off field.
He said strong support off-field from volunteers and the people of Rupanyup would translate into a successful team.
Joining Finnigan in a coaching role at the club will be newly-appointed assistant coach James Delahunty.
Delahunty was assistant coach of Mininera and District Football League team Penshurst last year, and has previously played for the Stawell Warriors in the Wimmera league and in Warrnambool.
Finnigan said Delahunty was an ideal pick up for the club.
"It's extremely good that he's coming back to the area because he's been a very successful Wimmera league player and he's also had some success down south," he said.
Finnigan said the club was working hard to sign more recruits and was hoping to announce signings in the next few weeks.
2014 HDFL coaches
Edenhope-Apsley: Grant Coxon (new)
Harrow-Balmoral: Brent Forsyth
Kalkee: Trevor O'Brien (new)
Laharum: Shannon Argall (new) and Marcus Demaria
Natimuk: Tim Friend (new)
Noradjuha-Quantong: Jarred Combe (new)
Pimpinio: Mal Coutts (new)
Rupanyup: Mick Finnigan (new)
Swifts: Ben Martin and Paul Hanns
Taylors Lake: Deek Roberts (new)