Gatland Named 2013 UK Coach of the Year

Warren Gatland led the Lions to their first series win in 16 years
Warren Gatland with RedPanda Coach Alex Keay

Wales and British Lions head coach Warren Gatland has been named the UK coach of the year at the 2013 UK Coaching Awards.

Alongside Wales second Six Nations win, Gatland led the British and Irish Lions to their first series win in Australia for 16 years.

Gatland beat rivals including Lloyd Cowan, coach of world 400m athletics champion Christine Ohuruogu, and England netball coach Anna Mayes to the top honours.

He joins a list of previous coach of the year winners including heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill's coach Toni Minichiello and England cricket coach Andy Flower.

The 50 year-old Kiwi told BBC Radio 5 Live that "the sea of red and atmosphere in the stadiums is why you are involved in sport, to live for those moments and memories.”

He also reiterated his desire to lead the Lions to New Zealand for their next tour in 2017.

After winning the first Test of the tour 23-21 in Brisbane the Lions lost their second test by the narrowest of margins, 16-15, in Melbourne.

With the series poised at 1-1 Gatland made the controversial decision to drop legendary Irish centre Brian O’Driscoll for the final game – much to the dismay of many fans. He admitted the reaction to that decision had shocked him:

"I knew it was a big call, but that is why I'm in that role.

"I said to the other coaches 'there will be a bit of a fall-out from this' and they should be prepared, but I wasn't prepared for the amount of fall-out, particularly in UK and Ireland.

"But that is sport and you have to stand by your beliefs."

However, the gamble did pay off, as the Lions cruised to a resounding 41-16 drubbing of Australia in the final test, taking the series win.

Talking about the best moment of his incredible year, Gatland added: "It is tough to pick out a best moment, but you can't go past the Lions. It is nothing like you've experienced in the past."

However, following on from this, the Kiwi maintained that his focus is now firmly fixed on Wales and doing well with them over the next two years.

"If I do well with Wales in the Six Nations and World Cup then I will put myself in the frame to be asked again.

"If asked to do it again in my home country then it is something I would relish."

Gatland stepped aside from coaching Wales last year to concentrate on his Lions commitments. In his absence, interim coach Rob Howley led Wales to the Six Nations title.

With Gatland back at the helm for the 2014 campaign, Wales are targeting a hat-trick of Six Nations titles, a feat that has never been achieved.

Other awards winners included Dr Phil Slater, Cathy Foster, Jim Saltonstall, John Derbyshire and David Howlett, the quintet who helped guide Sir Ben Ainslie's to becoming a four-time Olympic champion and part of this year's America's Cup winning team.


UK coaching awards winners:

High-performance coach of the year - Warren Gatland.

The coaching chain award - The coaches of sailor Sir Ben Ainslie - Dr Phil Slater, Cathy Foster, Jim Saltonstall, John Derbyshire and David Howlett.

Governing body of the year - British Cycling.

Disability coach of the year - Truro multi-sports coach Steve Hillman.

Coach educator of the year - Justyn Price of StreetGames.

Coaching intervention of the year - StreetGames doorstep coaching programme.

The Heather Crouch young coach of the year - Portsmouth tennis coach Tim Lord-Hopkins.

Children's coach of the year - Bisley cycling coach John Gunn.

Performance-development coach of the year - England Rugby Union under-20s head coach Nick Walshe.

Lifetime achievement award - North Shields netball coach Lynne Booth.



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