Coach could follow in legends' footsteps

IPSWICH basketball coach Nick Drane could be about to follow in the footsteps of Town legends Sir Bobby Robson and Sir Alf Ramsey.The legendary Ipswich and England football managers were both recipients of a UK Coaching Award - and now Drane finds himself on a shortlist at the very same prestigious ceremony.

Stuart Watson

IPSWICH basketball coach Nick Drane could be about to follow in the footsteps of Town legends Sir Bobby Robson and Sir Alf Ramsey.

The legendary Ipswich and England football managers were both recipients of a UK Coaching Award - and now Drane finds himself on a shortlist at the very same prestigious ceremony.

The 28-year-old is in the running for the Children's Coach of the Year after leading Ipswich Basketball Club's Under-13 team to the national title this year and producing a number of junior England internationals in the town.


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And with Drane having launched the Ipswich Basketball Academy at Copleston Sports College in September, the news caps a fine year which has also seen him named both the Suffolk Sport and Team Ipswich Coach of the Year as well as becoming a dad for the first time.

“To even be in the same room as some of the great sporting coaches of the day, let alone to be actually up for an award, will be an absolute honour,” said Drane, who will travel to Old Billingsgate, London for the ceremony on December 8.

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“I'm well aware that I am in the luxurious and unique position of being able to coach as a full-time living, so this recognition is not just for me but for Suffolk in general and basketball as a minority sport.”

Drane - who spent a brief spell playing basketball in Canada as a teenager - took up coaching at a young age and quickly found his forte was in spotting and developing young talent.

Over the past decade he has helped hugely raise participation levels in school basketball across the county, while at the same time has transformed a string of complete beginners into junior international players.

Now the head coach of the East of England U13 squad, Drane admits that he has ambitions of one day being involved with the Great Britain's men's senior team. However, for now, he is getting more than enough satisfaction at the grassroots level of the game.

He said: “For me, there is nothing more rewarding than coaching juniors. A good junior coach will always have a bigger impact on a player's career than any senior coach. Often we worry so much in this country about how to coach elite athletes that we forget about how to develop elite athletes in the first place.”

Kathryn James, Suffolk's basketball development officer, said: “When you consider all his areas of work over the last 12 months he has had a tremendous impact on several hundred youngsters.

“If you ask me what his X factor is, it has to be his infectious charm and his ability to connect with all the youngsters he comes into contact with.”

Drane - who is

sponsored by LB Group Chartered Accountants - added: “I'm absolutely ecstatic to have been shortlisted, but I haven't achieved

everything on my own. There are various

people in the county - the likes of Kathryn James and Bernard Ball - that need recognition too.”

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