Greenock’s Eddie McCluskey (68) picked up the accolade on an evening where nine other leading coaches, officials and volunteers from across Scotland were recognised for their significant contribution to sport over the past twelve months.
The prestigious sportscotland Coaching Officiating and Volunteer Awards 2016 were held last night (23 November) at Glasgow City Halls where leading athletes congratulated the winners and thanked them for their work in supporting and developing sport in Scotland.
At the event, hosted by BBC Scotland’s Bryan Burnett, coaches, officials and volunteers involved in swimming, diving, football, netball, tennis, gymnastics and badminton were recognised for the many hours they dedicate to helping others compete at the best level they can.
Stewart Harris, Chief Executive of sportscotland, said: “Every year across the country, thousands of dedicated volunteers devote their time, knowledge and skills to help others achieve their sporting goals. It’s an honour that sportscotland has the opportunity to thank them for all that they’re doing to ensure Scotland’s sporting generation receives unrivalled coaching to enable them to compete at world class level.
“Eddie’s not only being recognised for his successes this year, but for his lifelong dedication to sport. His inspirational achievements has made him one of Scotland’s most influential coaches. His positive attitude inspires disabled people to become local, national or international athletes.
“Eddie’s a truly inspirational coach and is a worthy recipient of our sportscotland Lifetime Achievement Award. He exemplifies what every coach is striving for; focusing on the individual and developing what they can do.
“At sportscotland we are implementing a world-class sporting system at every level in Scotland and we can only do so with the support of the many dedicated coaches, officials and volunteers like those recognised this evening.
“I hope that many more people are inspired by their stories and recognise the opportunities that exist to get involved in sport at every level from volunteering at your local club or school to coaching or officiating on the world stage.”
Award winners on the evening were:
sportscotland ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ was presented to Eddie McCluskey, a swimming coach from Greenock who has been involved in training young people with a disability for over 40 years. Eddie coached four Paralympian’s, including Maggie McEleny and Kenny Cairns, to multi-gold medal success over five Paralympics and for many years was a ‘first-pick-coach’ for British squads. After his fifth Paralympic Games, Beijing, 2008, Eddie retired from coaching Britain's top international swimmers as part of Team GB and concentrated on coaching at his local club, Port-Glasgow Otters.
sportscotland ‘High Performance Coach of the Year’ was presented to Ben Higson and Steve Tigg who work in tandem to lead the emerging programme at Univeristy of Stirling. The pair have attracted top class recuits to Stirling for the upcoming season and personally coach international athletes including Robbie Renwick, Ross Murdoch and Duncan Scott. Over the last year, their swimmers have amassed 12 international medals at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, World Championships in Russia and European Championships in London.
sportscotland ‘Performance Development Coach of the Year’ was presented to Jen Leeming for her coaching at the Edinburgh Diving Performance Development Group. She is responsible for the development of emerging young divers from the early stages of their career, through to elite level. She provides coherent, educational programmes and delivers a national remit to help Scottish Swimming shape their strategic direction for diving in Scotland. Her approach has had an influence on 2016 Rio Olympic performer Grace Reid and British National Diving champion James Heatly.
sportscotland ‘Young Coach of the Year’ was presented to Kieran Henderson who has played an intergral part in the growth and development of football opportunities in Aberdeen through the Aberdeen Football Club Community Trust (AFCCT). Kieran has completed over 500 hours of volunteering and helps to drive creative and inspirational programmes for AFCCT Dementia Friendly.
sportscotland ‘Young Volunteer of the Year’ was presented to Andrew Lauder from Falkirk for his commitment to volunteering at his local community sports club. Over the last five years, Andrew has made a significant contribution within the Falkirk community and has been crucial to the Tryst Community Sports Club’s success where he has become the face of the Holiday Camp. He also voluntarily assists Falkirk FC with match day media operations and is assistant Kitman to the fist team.
sportscotland ‘Disability Coach of the Year’ was presented to Karen Ross from Stirling who is a voluntary disability tennis coach. With over a decade of experience, Karen’s unrivalled in-depth knowledge and understanding of the sport makes her one of Scotland’s leading wheelchair tennis coaches. She initially started her career training 2008 Beijing Paralymian Kevin Simpson and more recently Gordon Reid, where she played a vital role in his two Grand Slam wins and two Paralympic medals at the 2016 Rio Games.
sportscotland ‘Community Coach of the Year’ was presented to Sally Carns who is a voluntary Lead Coach for the Bucksburn Netball Club teams in Aberdeen. She is responsible for delivering high quality training sessions, implementating a new coaching strategy and encouraging trainees to undertake professional qualifications to ensure the team are up-to-date on changing legislations. Sally also coaches Robert Gordon University’s netball team and was recently appointed as a Development Centre Coach for Shetland and Orkney.
sportscotland ‘Volunteer of the Year’ was presented to Patty Coghill from Wick for her commitment to Wick Juniors badminton club. Patty voluntarily runs every aspect of the club from booking venues, arranging transport and organising competitions. Her passion and motivation to suceed has inspired a full team of volunteers to work for her, giving up every weekend in all weather conditions to support her and the team.
sportscotland ‘Technical Official of the Year’ was presented to Martin Madden from Glasgow for his years of service as an umpire. After watching his Father attend the Seoul Olympics in 1988, Martin was determined to follow in his footsteps. After over 20 years of hard work and dedication, Martin’s dream came true as he was selected to umpire at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Martin was recently awarded the FIH Golden Whistle for umpiring his 100th Senior International match and is only the third Scot to achieve this award.
sportscotland ‘Young Person’s Coach of the Year was presented to Kieran Brown who is a children’s gymnastic coach in Alness. Through the Street Gym Programme, Kieran developed a safe environment for teenagers to partipate and enjoy the sport. He is responbile for coaching boys and girls aged 8-18 and is in high demand to deliver sessions to schools, youth groups and leisure clubs across the Highlands.
The winners each received a trophy, certificate and £300 towards their professional or coaching development. More information on the awards can be found at www.sportscotland.org.uk/covawards.