Linda Vagana MNZM (born July 23rd, 1971 in Auckland, New Zealand) is a former New Zealand Silver Ferns Netball player and current international head coach to Samoa’s national netball team. Vagana is also a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for her services to netball.
She is the General Manager of Duffy Books in Homes, a literacy-focused charitable organization in New Zealand. Vagana comes from a family of well-known athletes in rugby league cousins Nigel Vagana and Joe Vagana.
In her high school years, Vagana played a range of sports that included netball, kilikiti (Samoan cricket), volleyball and athletics – she represented her school in shot-put and discuss at the national level. It was no surprise that her athletic talents would propel her to make the domestic Auckland U-21 team while still at school.
Vagana won gold as a member of the New Zealand team at the World U-21 Championships in 1992. She joined the Silver Ferns at the end of the 1992 season and played a total of 61 tests with them until she retired in 2002. She spent 10 years donning the New Zealand Silver Ferns black dress.
A year after she retired, Vagana was recognized for her services to netball when she became a Member of the New Zealand order of Merit in 2003.
Vagana continued playing netball domestically with the Northern Force (now known as Northern Mystics since its merge with Auckland Diamonds in 2008) in the National Bank Cup (now known as the ANZ Championships) since 1998 and also played for her home country, Samoa, in the World Championships before retiring completely from playing netball in 2005.
Vagana is currently the head coach for Samoa’s national netball team. Under her coaching, she has taken the Samoan U-21 team to the World Champs in 2005 held in Florida, and Samoa’s national netball team to the 2006 and 2010 Commonwealth Games. She became General Manager to non-profit organization, Duffy Books in Homes, in July of 2004.
Highlights and Awards:
- Won Gold for New Zealand at the World U-21 Championships in 1992
- Played 61 tests for the Silver Ferns between 1992-2002
- Won Silver Medals at the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur 1998 and in Manchester 2002
- Won Silver medals at the World Games in 1993 and the World Championships in 1999
- Played for Samoa at the 2003 World Championships (placing 6th)
- Since 2004 she coached Samoa who have competed in the World U-21 Tournament in Miami in 2005, the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006 and World Cup in Auckland in 2007
- Her services to netball were recognized nationally when she became a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) in 2003
Source – LeadershipNZ, Wikipedia, BooksInHomes