Men’s Hockey Stars 2015 Coach of the Year is the South African-born coach to the Irish men’s team, Craig Fulton. Appointed as head coach to Ireland in 2014, Fulton was the mastermind behind Ireland’s successful Hockey World League campaign – the team’s fifth place finish at the Semi-Finals in Antwerp, Belgium qualifying Ireland for the Olympic Games for the first time in over 100 years.
If qualifying for Rio 2016 was not enough, Fulton also led his team to bronze in the EuroHockey 2015 Championships, defeating England in the process. This was the first major medal won by the team in modern hockey history. Under Fulton’s leadership, Ireland men have also climbed to 12th place in the world rankings.
On receiving the award, Fulton said: “It’s an honour and a privilege to accept this award from the FIH. We had an amazing year and pushed as hard as we could and got the just rewards in qualifying for Rio and a bronze in the Euros.
“This is a collective award for all the players and staff that sacrificed as much as they have over the past 18 months. What an amazing honour to lead this team!”
Fulton himself is a double Olympian, having represented South Africa in Atlanta and Athens so, when he says: “it will be a challenging year ahead”, he certainly knows what is in store.
As well as 191 caps to his name, Fulton has a wealth of coaching experience, not just with Ireland but also with the South African men’s and women’s teams. He will undoubtedly be bringing all that experience to bear when the Green Machine take their place in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
For more information about the Hockey Stars 2015, click here.