DANNY GNJIDIC has been re-appointed Ballarat Red Devils senior coach for two more seasons.
Joining the Haymes Ballarat Red Devils in 2007, Gnjidic won the Football Federation Victoria state league three north-west title, earning the club promotion to state league two.
His second season was mixed, with the club finishing sixth, but avoiding relegation.
Gnjidic was pleased with season 2008.
"I think we did exceptionally well for our first season at state two," he said.
"A majority of our squad had never played at that level so to have the season that we did, with an 11-week unbeaten run and staying with the top teams for most of the year was a fantastic effort by all the players."
"We need to take another step forward in 2009 and really learn from last season.
"State league two is an extremely competitive division, and as we saw last year there are no easy games."
Despite interviewing several other candidates for the job - including a member of the Australian World Youth Cup squad believed to be Fabio Incantalupo - Red Devils president Andrew Burgess said Gnjidic was the right man
for the job.
"There is no doubt that we had some very good candidates for the senior coaching job and they all interviewed very well, but at the end of the day we believe that Danny is the person to lead us forward on our journey to the
Victorian Premier League," Burgess said.
Gnjidic is looking to youth to continue the club's improvement, with the reserves side becoming in essence an under-21 team.
"In simple terms, if you are good enough, you are old enough," he said.
"I think two of the best examples are Tristan Romein and Luke Wigmore, who both now have close to 50 senior games under their belts and they're still teenagers.
"The Ballarat Academy does a marvellous job and obviously most of our current squad have come through that system and are representing their home club in an admirable fashion."
And he has set his goals high.
"In the medium to long-term I would love to see two things happen to football in this town.
"One is to have the Red Devils in the Victorian premier league represented entirely by local talent.
"The other is to see a footballer who learned his football in Ballarat go on and play with the Socceroos."
As a player, Gnjidic was a striker for Heidelberg United in the old National Soccer League.
He won the Bill Fleming Medal in 2000 - a media award for the best player in the Victorian premier league - co-incidentally an award won by Incatalupo in 1991.
Incantalupo has been appointed junior technical director at Green Gully FC for 2009.
Gnjidic also played for Westgate FC in state league one, and after a knee injury ended his career he returned to Westgate as an assistant coach helping them earn promotion to state league one.