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Coaching excellence celebrated at the UK Coaching Awards 2015

Wed, 02 Dec 2015

UK Coaching Awards 2015 finalists and winners

Leeds Rhinos’ Brian McDermott was the big winner at a star-studded 2015 UK Coaching Awards as he was one of 12 to have their achievements rewarded in Manchester.

This year saw McDermott led Leeds Rhinos to an historic treble as they topped the Super League table before going on to beat Wigan Warriors in the Grand Final as well as picking up the Challenge Cup.

It was only the third time in the Super League era that such a feat had been achieved and the silverware keeps coming for McDermott after he took home the Coach of the Year Award at the 2015 UK Coaching Awards at the iconic Midland Hotel in Manchester.

Previous winners of the award include Gary Street, Warren Gatland, Toni Minichiello and Andy Flower, with McDermott admitting it was an honour to add his name to such a prestigious list.

“Whenever one person gets recognised for coaching, there are so many more people who are part of it,” said McDermott.

“The whole club here has a part to play in it, so personally I am unbelievably proud - but I am proud for the whole club because it is a club achievement.

“It was a massive season and to see everything come together brought a combination of a few emotions. To pick up all three trophies is still sinking in, but I think the emotion at the end was relief.”

The UK Coaching Awards honour sports coaches and coaching organisations who have demonstrated outstanding success over the previous 12 months.

McDermott wasn’t the only one to take the spotlight on Tuesday evening, with British Cycling claiming three gongs.

Coaches Richard Shepherd and Andrew Pink walked away with the Coach Developer of the Year and Heather Crouch Young Coach of the Year awards, while British Cycling themselves were named Governing Body of the Year after pipping Badminton England and the RFL to the prize.

“It’s fantastic to receive recognition from within the coaching industry,” said John Mills, director of coaching, education and development at British Cycling.

“It’s a real team effort; we’ve got a great group of people who are very committed to the development of coaching and development of coaches.

“It’s always nice to come to the UK Coaching Awards, it’s a fantastic evening and occasion celebrating also the work that sports coach UK do in terms of the support they provide for British Cycling to help us on our journey to develop coaches.”

With the Lord Mayor of the City of Manchester as principal guest, more than 250 people attended the event.

Ulster Sports Outreach won Coaching Intervention of the Year, while Edinburgh GP and triathlon coach Penny Rother was named Community Coach of the Year.

Children’s Coach of the Year award went to rugby coach Gary Coupland, while hockey enthusiast Wendy Russell picked up the Disability Coach of the Year gong.

The Lifetime Achievement Award went to judoka Colin McIver, while badminton's Andrew Stewart was named Performance Development Coach of the Year.

However, McDermott wasn’t the only high-profile winner on the night with Danny Kerry claiming the High Performance Coach of the Year prize.

Kerry was appointed head coach of the England and Great Britain women’s hockey teams in July 2014 and he hasn’t looked back since.

He led the team to a Commonwealth silver medal, world league R3 gold, which meant that the team achieved Olympic qualification with a 100 per cent win record, and finally a European Championship gold medal for the first time in 24 years earlier in 2015.

And he was delighted to add to his impressive collection on Tuesday night.

“On a personal level, I’m proud to receive the award,” said Kerry. 

“I’m also proud to receive it on behalf of my staff and my athletes, they are incredibly committed.

“It’s about getting a group of athletes and staff and having a clarity of common purpose and a common way we are going to go about and do things.

“It sounds a simple thing to do but in terms of a coaching challenge that’s pretty massive. I’ve learned a lot in the 10 years I’ve been involved in the national level about how you go about getting that purpose.”

The UK Coaching Awards 2015, hosted by sports coach UK is a chance to recognise excellent coaching and coaching organisations that have achieved outstanding success over the past 12 months.

This year's event also broke new ground with the premiere of a dance performance by boys from local schools. The Chorley and District Boys' Dance Company received a Heritage Lottery Grant to develop The Journey of a Lancashire Soldier. Telling the story of three young men from exactly 100 years ago who fought and fell in the First World War, the project will continue with a documentary, educational pack for schools and an exhibition at the Museum of Lancashire. Its premiere at the UK Coaching Awards demonstrated the link between sport, dance, physical education and the wider school curriculum.

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