It will be interesting to know how history will view the man who was often the target of derision, especially early on in his career.
The cold figures are impressive, and stack up well in the history of New Zealand cricket.
Tests: 53 (21 wins, 13 draws, 19 losses)
ODIs: 119 (65 wins, 8 NR/ties, 46 losses)
T20Is: 59 (30 wins, 5 NR/ties, 24 losses)
He was barely known when appointed to the role, and a rarity in that he was not a former international player.
He had coached Otago who overachieved in his time there, but people don’t really follow domestic cricket that closely. He was the nerdy looking guy whose previous international experiencing was a stint in charge of Kenya.
In 2012 New Zealand cricket was not in great shape. The Kim Littlejohn experiment was coming to an end and the much anticipated John Wright era was dysfunctional at best. And that was shortly after Andy Moles.
While the commencement of the Hesson era was understated he was Public Enemy #1 within a few months after he made a certain captaincy change. The backlash was unprecedented and threatened to derail the tenure once and for all.
Regardless of the merits of that change (right decision, handled poorly) Hesson never lost his cool, and that in itself proved he could remove emotion from his role. He knew he was in a PR battle he would never win so he kept his head down. Proof he was a meticulous planner who remained untroubled by metaphorical short-pitched bowling.
Things got worse a month later when a weakened New Zealand was rolled for 45 in Cape Town. But from there the team’s fortunes gradually improved as, piece by piece, the side started taking shape.
The home record was very good with test series wins against India and England, and consistent ODI success highlighted by the 2015 Cricket World Cup.
However the most impressive and unexpected series was the one against Pakistan in the UAE in 2014. Completely thrashed in the first test, thereby following in the footsteps of recent tourists Australia, they held their own in the second before claiming a drawn series by thumping Pakistan in the final. That test was played in the shadow of the passing of Phil Hughes, and it all seemed a bit other-worldly.
Interestingly a career highlight listed was “Only New Zealand’s fourth Test series win over England in 88 years (2017-18)”. You could argue the two series he will look back on with frustration and disappointment would be those drawn series against England in 2013 and 2015. In varying ways, they were the ones that got away.
He should also be given credit for the smooth way the captaincy was transferred from McCullum to Williamson. The results and the style of play did not seem to change, which seemed unlikely given the larger than life way McCullum captained when compared to his more unassuming successor.
He has left the side in a much better state than when he inherited it. He deserves his time with his family; the job of an international cricket coach is a taxing one, and very few stay in the job for as long as Hesson.
You get the feeling he will probably end up in the IPL at some stage. That in itself highlights the hierarchy of international cricket in 2018. Six years from one coach in this era will probably be the biggest cold fact for which he will be remembered.
And, now he’s gone, he will be missed.