expression of interest

Red Cliffs Secondary College Sports Academy is a full time integrated academic and sporting program allowing for passionate, sporting enthusiasts, young male and female students in Years 7-10 to develop their sporting talent and aspirations concurrently to their secondary education. Run by elite, expert coaches and mentors, the Sports Academy provides the highest quality specialist sports programs, and assists students to achieve an appropriate balance between academic and sporting aspirations within a supportive educational environment through individualised programs. The Sports Academy focuses on educating and supporting students in;
  • sports specific development
  • performance physiology
  • athletic development
  • sports rehabilitation and injury prevention
  • leadership
  • discipline
  • teamwork
  • communication skills.
Launching in 2024, the Sports Academy will be based at Red Cliffs Secondary College.

Coaching staff & mentors profiles

Ben mcglynn - football (afl) coach

Ben McGlynn possesses extensive experience and a rich background in sports and Australian Football League (AFL). Hailing from Dareton, New South Wales, Ben initially showcased his skills with the Bendigo Pioneers in the TAC Cup. Subsequently, he was selected by the Hawthorn Football Club in the 2006 Rookie Draft. After the 2009 AFL season, Ben was traded to the Sydney Swans, concluding his AFL playing career in 2016 after an impressive 171 games. 

Following his retirement, Ben seamlessly transitioned into the coaching realm, joining the St Kilda Football Club. During his six-year tenure, he contributed significantly to various aspects of the football department. His responsibilities included coaching the VFL alignment club, Sandringham, spearheading the player development program, and serving as an assistant coach for the forwards and midfields. 

In 2022, Ben joyfully returned to his roots in the Mildura area and successfully launched his innovative "Footy Star Academy Program." This venture represents his commitment to nurturing young talent and sharing his wealth of knowledge and expertise in the sport.

courtney wakefield - netball coach

Courtney Wakefield, a former player for the Richmond Football Club in the AFL Women's League (AFLW), brings a unique female perspective and firsthand experience from the world of Australian rules football. 

Additionally, she currently excels as an A-grade Netballer for the Wentworth Football and Netball Club, showcasing her high-level proficiency in netball. Courtney's journey began in football during her childhood, but due to limited opportunities and competition for aspiring female footballers, she transitioned to netball, where she became a renowned star in Gol-Gol, New South Wales. 

As a key forward for the Tigers, Courtney's reliable set-shot at goal and outstanding performance earned her the team's inaugural goal-kicking award. However, her versatile sporting abilities truly shine in netball, where she focuses on her defensive skills as a dominant goal defender on the court.

calvin henry - basketball coach

Hailing originally from Orlando, Florida, Calvin is a former professional basketball player with an extensive career that has taken him to various countries such as Germany, Luxembourg, Iceland, Norway, and Australia. 

His basketball journey began during his college years, where he showcased his skills as a Division 1 College Basketball player at Mercer University in the United States. Calvin's impressive list of achievements includes four-time Most Valuable Player (MVP), three-time scoring champion, two-time defensive player of the year, and five-time all-star selection. 

After retiring from the professional league, Calvin joined the Mildura Heat from 2013 to 2021, and he has further extended his involvement in the sport by coaching multiple local teams. He currently coaches the Mildura Heat senior basketball team and the Merbein Cobra's boys under 18's team. With his profound passion for basketball and his diverse experiences as a player and coach, Calvin is a valuable asset to the Sports Academy Program.

bradley vallance - mentor

Brad is the Assistant Principal at Red Cliffs Secondary College and plays senior football for Ouyen United where he was also the senior coach in 2020-2022 in the Sunraysia Football League. 

Originally from Ouyen, Brad was a member of the Bendigo Pioneers in the TAC Cup, which is now known as the NAB League, Victoria’s elite U/18 competition. Brad also played in the SANFL (Glenelg) and the NT Premier Football League (Southern Districts). 

Through Brad’s sporting commitments, coaching stint, and 10+ years teaching career, Brad has gained a wide range of knowledge, skills, and capabilities making him an incredibly valued member of the Sports Academy coaching panel.

noah hills - mentor

Noah is an outstanding footballer playing for Merbein in the Sunraysia Football League. In 2023, Noah starred in Sunraysia’s dominant win against the Central Australia Redtails in an interleague match, ‘Dreamtime at the P’. 

Noah has been a member of representative teams such as a junior in the Sunraysia Football league and Northern Territory Football League. Noah’s experiences allows him to bring a great range of knowledge and experience to the Sports Academy Program.

If you are interested in joining this exciting new program, please download a copy of the Application Form and get it back to the college to secure your spot for 2024!