Paul van Ass

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Paul van Ass, 2012

Paul van Ass (born 16 August 1960, Bergschenhoek) is a Dutch field hockey coach. After coaching for the Dutch club HGC, he became the coach of the national team, managing them at the 2012 Summer Olympics in the men's tournament. After his contract expired in 2014, he was declared the coach of the Indian team in 2015.


Club career[edit]

In his first major coaching position, head coach of the men's team of HGC, van Ass managed to save the team from degradation and lead them to a championship final in 2007, which was credited to his "opportunistic" style of coaching.[1] HGC lost that game to HC Bloemendaal. Van Ass's HGC reached the final of the Euro Hockey League 2007–08[2] after beating HC Rotterdam in the semi-final, but lost to Uhlenhorster HC in overtime.[3]

In the 2008–2009 season, he coached Jong Oranje (the men's under-21 national team) and was assistant-coach for the Netherlands national field hockey team;[4][5] he returned to coach HGC (which had a disappointing season under Alexander Cox[6]) for the 2009–2010 season.[7] That team reached the final in the national championship,[8] losing again to Bloemendaal, and qualified for the Euro Hockey League 2010–11.[2]

National team[edit]

Despite having limited international experience, van Ass was appointed coach of the national team in June 2010, after Michel van den Heuvel [nl] was let go.[8] The appointment came as a surprise:[2] van Ass got the position in favor of Marc Lammers or another international top coach.[8][9]

Olympic selection controversy[edit]

Besides not having a coaching certificate,[10][11] van Ass did not select seasoned internationals Taeke Taekema and Teun de Nooijer (nicknamed "T&T"[12]), the country's best known hockey players and icons of the sport.[13] He cut the two from the national selection in January 2012.[14] To justify his choice criticized them in an interview with de Volkskrant a few days later, for which he was accused of character assassination,[10] and he later apologized for his words.[15] After a public backlash Van Ass apologized to T&T at the end of January[16] and took them back in March, his credibility having suffered greatly,[17] but cut them again in July.[10][18]

2012 Olympics[edit]

The Dutch team played their opening game in Group B against India, beating them 3–2,[19] and rallied against Belgium in their second match to beat them 3–1, thanks to penalty corner specialist Mink van der Weerden.[20] The team reached the final by demolishing Great Britain 9–2, but lost to Germany, 2–1.


  1. ^ "Paul van Ass wijzer na nederlaag HGC". Algemeen Dagblad. 1 October 2007. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  2. ^ a b c "Paul van Ass wil meer energie brengen". Algemeen Dagblad (in Dutch). 3 June 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  3. ^ "HGC verliest finale EHL". De Telegraaf (in Dutch). 11 May 2008. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  4. ^ "Van Ass manager hockeyers". Algemeen Dagblad (in Dutch). 5 September 2008. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  5. ^ "De 'machine' van HGC hapert". Algemeen Dagblad (in Dutch). 9 November 2008. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  6. ^ "Trainer Van Ass terug bij hockeyers HGC". De Telegraaf (in Dutch). 26 May 2009. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  7. ^ "Cox weg bij HGC, Van Ass komt". Algemeen Dagblad (in Dutch). 25 May 2009. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  8. ^ a b c "Paul van Ass nieuwe bondscoach hockeyers". 3 June 2010. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  9. ^ "Hockeybond wil daadkracht en gedrevenheid". De Telegraaf (in Dutch). 3 June 2010. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  10. ^ a b c Hek, Rogier van 't (3 July 2010). "De Karaktermoord op Taekema". Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  11. ^ Jong, Mascha de (4 June 2012). "Zwalkend beleid". De Telegraaf (in Dutch). Retrieved 3 August 2012.
  12. ^ "Van Ass in gesprek met T&T". Algemeen Dagblad (in Dutch). 24 January 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  13. ^ "'De Nooijer en Taekema gaan gewoon naar de Spelen'". Algemeen Dagblad (in Dutch). 12 January 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  14. ^ "Bondscoach Van Ass zet hockeyiconen uit Oranje". Algemeen Dagblad (in Dutch). 12 January 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  15. ^ "Excuus Van Ass richting Taekema en De Nooijer". 27 January 2012. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  16. ^ "Excuses bondscoach Van Ass aan T&T". Algemeen Dagblad (in Dutch). 27 January 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  17. ^ Haakman, David (23 March 2012). "De Nooijer en Taekema terug in Oranje – 'geloofwaardigheid Van Ass op het spel'". NRC Handelsblad (in Dutch). Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  18. ^ Haars, Anne-Greet (9 July 2012). "Kritiek Taekema raakt Van Ass niet". BNR Newsradio (in Dutch). Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  19. ^ Haars, Anne-Greet (31 July 2012). "Hockeymannen winnen openingsduel van India". BNR Newsradio (in Dutch). Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  20. ^ "Netherlands rally for comeback victory". 1 August 2012. Archived from the original on 3 June 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2012.

External links[edit]

Media related to Paul van Ass at Wikimedia Commons