St Paul’s netball programme is headed by the talented Lynaire Williams, who has an extensive career in coaching and has been a representative player in both netball and volleyball.
During her high school years, Lynaire represented New Zealand in volleyball and represented Waikato in the Magic Netball team. Although she was exceptionally good at both sports, netball was her true passion.
It was through her netball representative years that Lynaire applied for the Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship through the University of Waikato and was granted a fully paid scholarship. She went on to undertake a double degree in Sport and Leisure Studies and teaching.
Although Lynaire tried to pursue netball as her chosen career, she was often on the fringe of the Magic team and made the decision to retire netball and utilise her teaching degree. This was a difficult choice as her sibling, Silver Fern great Casey Kopua (nee Williams), was rising to stardom at the same time Lynaire realised she wasn’t going to further her own netball career.
Ms Williams taught physical education at Western Heights High School (2012-2013) in Rotorua and Hamilton Girls’ High School (2014-2019). At HGHS she was also the premier netball team coach from 2014-2018 and her team finished fifth in the NZSS Championship. It was while she was coach of this team she was nominated as a finalist for Waikato Bay of Plenty Netball Coach of the Year.
With her extensive teaching knowledge and passion for netball, Lynaire has already made some improvements within the netball programme at St Paul’s in just one year.
In 2020, Lynaire led St Paul’s to win the Saturday Open Grade Tournament competition, meaning the team can trial for the premiere Thursday night league this year.
“This is a measurable improvement on the netball programme within the school and something I am really proud to be behind,” says Lynaire.
To stay ahead of the competition, Lynaire has implemented a preseason netball tournament with six other schools around the country.
“I want to prepare our girls before the season starts. This is a great way to build a competitive culture and play some good quality netball.”
And to future proof the sport, Lynaire will work on training the top teams as a squad to improve the overall skill level within the school.
In 2021, Lynaire takes on other roles at St Paul’s on top of her netball commitments. She is Assistant Housemaster of Harington Day house girls, teaches physical education and provides elite athlete mentoring.
“I have a very holistic approach; I want the best athletes and I want them to be resilient and have their whole wellbeing looked after. I interview them, mentor them and provide support for them on and off the court.”
With Ms Williams’ well-rounded sporting and teaching background and high level of coaching expertise, she brings a great deal of experience to help support girls at St Paul’s on and off the netball court.