Nick Drane proud of achievements as he steps down from first-team coach role at Ipswich

Coach Nick Drane talks to his players

Coach Nick Drane talks to his players - Credit: Archant

Nick Drane’s overriding emotion will be pride when he steps down as first-team coach of Ipswich Basketball.

The 35-year-old will remain with the club in a general manager/head coach role but will not be responsible for the direct fortunes of the men’s first team on the court, from next season.

He will still control player recruitment though and play a big role in the first-team’s fortunes, but taking more of a watching brief will allow him to spend more time with his family, where matchdays would have previously taken preference.

Stepping back from the first team will also allow him to have a bigger influence on the club as a whole, in terms of the development and coaching of the next generation of coaches and players.

His reasons are totally understandable, but he is bound to feel a little bit of sadness, given the success he and the team have had over the past six years.

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As head coach of Ipswich first-team, Drane led Ipswich from Division Four to the brink of Division one in just three years.

He will now oversee the bigger picture one of the country’s biggest club’s – an outfit which he has helped take massive strides, with the first team the catalyst for the success.

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“I don’t think people can quite comprehend what has been achieved at the club,” said Drane.

“We (first-team) progressed from Division Four to the Division Two play-off finals in three seasons and where people were once paying to play for the club, the club is now paying players to play at this level.

“I am so proud of what has been achieved, it’s been quite phenomenal.

“Both on and off the court the club is self-sufficient and it has a great profile in the local community.”

After taking such strides in recent seasons, Drane has been first-team coach for six seasons, but involved in coaching for the last 15 – the senior side was always likely to hit a bit of a plateau and after two third-placed finishes (including one play-off final) and a fifth spot in Division Two, the first team is currently mid-table during the current campaign.

“It’s been my hardest-ever season as a coach, primarily because of all the injuries we’ve had,” Drane said.

“Tom Sadler and Leigh Greenan have been injured for large parts and we have had some senior players leave the team for a number of reasons.

“We are in the second half of the season now and we have one player from the first half of the season still in the team.

“The plan was to step down last season but we sat down and got a fit and healthy roster together, but unfortunately that’s been riddled with injury this season.

“I have not had a full strength team to choose from all season, but it’s nothing to do with results why I am leaving, it’s more to do with my sanity!

“I had no intention of coaching a men’s basketball team for my entire career.”

The first team’s loss will be the club’s gain, Drane keen to get back into coaching and bringing through the next generation of players.

“I feel I have a responsibility to give the young players and coaches the attention they deserve and I am in a good position to influence their development,” he confessed.

“I have had 15 straight seasons as a coach and my experience and knowledge will be a great benefit to junior team,” added Drane, which leads onto another ambition of his.

“Three of the guys I coached on our development programme are national team coaches,” Drane said.

“I have been coach at two European Championships (England Under-16s) as well, and I have helped to develop a lot of players.

“Maybe I need to get back coaching my country at some point.

“It’s something I would like to do but my priority at the moment is helping the junior programmes at Ipswich.”

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