Ashton becomes Director of Coaching

16th September 2008

Talented current and future University of Bath-based athletes and their coaches will be able to work alongside one of the big names in sport from today onwards. 
 
Brian Ashton, who led England to the finals of last year’s World Cup rugby tournament after a hugely successful playing and coaching career in the sport, has taken up a post as Director of Coaching on a consultancy basis.
 
He will work alongside Team Bath’s coaches and sports support staff, especially in the areas of coach development and education as well as sports science and medicine support, to develop the University’s already world-class training environment.
 
In addition, he will apply his particular skills to the area of talent development.  As a rugby coach he had unparalleled success through his RFU National Academy set-up in identifying and nurturing young players who have since gone on to full England or Saxons caps.
 
“This is a significant coup for us”, said a delighted Ged Roddy, Director of Sports Development and Recreation.  “Brian will bring a passion to his work with us. He will contribute to our coaching team extensively and will have an eye for the detail of top-level sport.
 
“Our University sports family at Bath fielded medal winners at both the Olympic and Paralympic Games and Brian’s appointment will strengthen our elite performance line-up and create a link between research and the practical application of science to sport. With the margins between victory and defeat becoming ever narrower at the top of sport, this is of fundamental importance”.
 
Roddy also sees a role for Ashton in working alongside current coaches and performance directors in each sport to help develop a future elite:  “He has a big role to play, too, in talent development and coach education. He is an expert in the principles of high level performance and will be a touchstone for some of our younger coaches”.
 
Equally, Ashton will input to applied sports science projects which could have the kind of impact enjoyed by the successful projects he managed both for the RFU’s Academy and world cup sides.
 
Lancastrian Ashton was born in Leigh and went to school in Leigh and Lancaster before studying History and Education at Leicester University. He went on to become a teacher and then rugby coach after a playing career which included an England touring side selection.
 
Ashton is well-known locally having coached Bath Rugby either as Assistant or Head Coach between 1989 and 1997. He also coached Ireland before moving on to an assistant role with England and then shouldered the main role in 2007 and 2008.  He was also England National Academy Manager from 2002 – 2007.
 
" I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with the University of Bath in the role of a consultant Director of Coaching”, said Ashton
 
“There are many talented High level performance Coaches and Athletes who operate in the University's Sports Training Village and I am looking forward to working alongside them to ensure that all set standards that are testing and provide competition success.
 
“When I was the National Academy Manager and Head Coach of England   rugby we used the Sports training village as our base so I am well   aware of the facilities and expertise that the University of Bath is able to provide across a wide range of support areas and will be looking to integrate these going forward”.
 
Whilst 2012 is very much at the forefront of Sport thinking, the opportunities for achieving and sustaining success in a number of areas between now and then presents an invigorating and exciting challenge. "
 
Barry Scollo, TeamBath's director of tennis, said: "This is going to have a massive impact on our coaching at the University of Bath.

"Brian's name conjures up respect - you really have to have respect him for everything he has achieved as a player and a coach.

"Many of Brian's skills lie in the development of talent, which will be invaluable. He has a huge amount of experience working with athletes under-18 and under-21.

"My whole team are looking forward to working with him. I hope he will mentor me in my role as well."
 
Ashton takes up his role at a time when British swimming returns in strength to Bath with a new high-performance training centre backed by coaches from the national governing body.