HEATH Black’s family links to Mooroolbark date back generations.
His father and uncle played at Heights Reserve in the 1980s, while his stepmother’s parents connection with the club goes back further.
“My stepmother’s mum and dad were entrenched there — he actually helped build the social rooms way back in the ‘60s and was the head trainer there,” Black said.
“My ears pricked up a bit when I saw the job was available.”
Now the former Fremantle and St Kilda midfielder wants to steer the Mustangs into the top-tier of the Eastern Football League for the first time in the club’s history.
In a coaching coup for the Division 2 club, Black has signed on as its new mentor.
Black took Narre Warren to the South East league grand final this year but parted ways with the Magpies just four days after the decider.
“I suppose at Narre Warren I wanted to go another couple of years around and unfortunately with the social rooms down there getting built and also some lights going in, we were miles apart with the finance type of thing,” Black said.
“I had to move on and jump on the websites around the local areas to see what was available.”
The move to Mooroolbark seemed like an ideal fit. His son Chayce played five TAC Cup games this year with Eastern Ranges as a 16-year-old, while his youngest boy Cayden is trialling with the under-15s squad.
One of Black’s first priorities will be to re-sign star forward Kire Talevski, while he will look to add some midfield polish to the Mustangs’ young group.
Mooroolbark has made the top four the past two years under Paris Harvie, recording its first finals win in four years last month.
“We’ll just tap into the things they are good at and try make them a little more exciting — release the handbrake so to speak because their defensive stuff is really good,” Black said.
“Paris has done a really good job on negating opposition, which is a credit to him.”