Last year’s Coach of the Year awards were a clean sweep for Great Britain and England as Danny Kerry and Karen Brown were honoured as Male and Female Coaches of the Year.
While this was an obvious reward for masterminding Great Britain’s success at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, it was also a reward for many other aspects of the two Brit’s coaching careers. Danny Kerry has long been recognised as a coach who is willing to listen, learn and change when necessary.
"Since 2016, the medal haul for England and Great Britain under Kerry has been impressive, with medals at just about every major international event..."
He started his England and Great Britain coaching career with the England ‘A’ squad in 2003, and was then appointed as full time Head Coach to England in 2005. He became Head Coach to Great Britain in 2007 and led the team to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, where they finished a credible sixth. Kerry himself says he learnt a lot from the Beijing Games, including the fact that there were things about his coaching that needed to change.
Since then, the medal haul for England and Great Britain under Kerry has been impressive, with medals at just about every major international event, including bronze at the 2012 Olympic Games and gold at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Since Rio 2016, Kerry has survived a serious heart problem, led his team to EuroHockey Championship 2017 bronze, Hockey World League Semi-Final 2017 bronze and is eagerly facing the dual challenge of a Commonwealth Games and a home World Cup next year. His ambition for Tokyo 2020 is for Great Britain to "win as winners".
Karen Brown is one of only a handful of female coaches to have transferred from a successful playing career to an equally successful coaching career. She is England and Great Britain’s second highest capped female player with 355 caps to her name and, during a glittering playing career, she won Olympic bronze (Barcelona 1992), European gold and Commonwealth silver medals.
As a coach, she has been at Kerry’s side as the team won Olympic gold and bronze, EuroHockey Championship gold, Commonwealth silver and World Cup bronze.
Brown was also named FIH Female Coach of the Year in 2015, following England’s triumph at the 2015 Unibet EuroHockey Championships. Both Brown and Kerry have been involved in coach mentoring since 2016.
Although Brown no longer coaches England and Great Britain hockey teams, she is heavily involved in mentoring elite coaches in a number of sports in the UK. Kerry has found himself sharing his experience and knowledge with coaches from a wide spectrum of sports, including the England Rugby Union side and the Football Association. He also shares his his principles and practices around team building with corporate companies who are seeking to improve their own team’s performances.