England Hockey coaching set up takes shape ahead of Rio

13 March 2013 / 16:10

England Hockey’s coaching set up continues to take shape ahead of the Rio Olympics with the announcement of three assistant coaches to work with both the men and women’s squad.

Jon Bleby, Craig Keegan and David Ralph have all been appointed assistant coaches following a comprehensive external recruitment process.

The trio will join Karen Brown to complete the assistant coach team and together they will support head coach of the women’s side Jason Lee, and Bobby Crutchley, who leads the men’s team.

During this time they will work to prepare the squads for all international competitions taking in the 2013 and 2015 European Championships and the 2014 World Cup and Commonwealth Games before turning their attentions towards the 2016 Games in Brazil.

Belby, 33, racked up 91 caps for England and Great Britain and competed at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing before retiring that same year, spending five years as the coach of the England Under-18 boys National Age Group Squad.

Australian-born Keegan took up the role of player-coach with Beeston Hockey Club aged 26 and topped the scoring charts in the English Leagues while achieving consecutive promotions with both Beeston and Belper as a coach.

In 2008 England Hockey appointed Keegan head coach of the National Performance Centre in Loughborough and he has since gone on to coach both the mens and womens National Age Groups Squads as an assistant and head coach. Last year Keegan led his Under 21 women’s side to a bronze medal at the European Championships.

Meanwhile Ralph notched up 126 appearances for Scotland and led Loughborough to National Indoor success four times.

Ahead of the trio taking up their new roles in April, Danny Kerry, England Hockey Performance Director, said: "I am delighted with the blend of coaches we have selected for the programmes moving forward.

“The quality and depth of candidates interviewed was significant. David Ralph, Craig Keegan and Jon Bleby each come with their own unique qualities and they all share the belief and ambition of what we can achieve together.

“We will be looking to use our national coaching workforce in a unique way over this coming cycle and I believe this will benefit both the programmes and the development of the coaches. I am excited about what this new coaching team will deliver."

© Sportsbeat 2013