Lots of changes happening at UK Athletics. Stuart Weir covers it well. I must say, I am pretty disappointed the Jo Coates dismantled the UKA media team, a team that all other 208 National federation members could learn to model. One thing that UKA media team did was to make UK Athletics look much better than it might have deserved.
I will be doing a podcast on the UKA media team and how good they were, stay tuned.
Change, for changes’ sake is silly. The litmus test of a good manager is that they understand that conundrum.
Oh, and Jo Coates might want to have a tea/coffee with Alan Pascoe….
New Director of Development for UK Athletics
Jo Coates, CEO of UK Athletics, continues to recruit her team with the announcement that Mark Munro has been appointed UKA’s Director of Development. This follows the appointment of Sara Symington as Performance Director and Christian Malcolm as the Olympic Program Head Coach. Coates’ previous post was as CEO of English Netball [a game like basketball for girls which is widely played in Britain and the Commonwealth] while Symington’s background was in cycling, triathlon, archery and netball. Many people in the sport will welcome Munro’s appointment as he is an athletics person having served as CEO of Scottish Athletics since 2016, joining the organisation in May 2011.
The press release stated: “The UKA role, which will oversee essential areas including coaching, officiating and safeguarding, will also help set the strategic and cultural direction of the organisation aligned to the UK wide strategy developed jointly with the Home Country Athletics Federations”. (HCAFs).
Mark Munro said: “Having been involved in athletics in Scotland since the age of eight, to have then become Head of Development and subsequently CEO for Scottish Athletics has been a massive honour and privilege. It has been fantastic to have witnessed the growth and success of the sport in Scotland over the last decade, and the clubs, coaches, officials and athletes have performed to such a high level and raised the bar to the height at which it stands today – for that I will always be grateful.
“However, I am hugely excited about my new role as Development Director at UK Athletics. Development has always been a passion of mine and this is a great opportunity to connect the development of the sport across UKA and the Home Country Athletics Federations (HCAFs), given the progress on a Unified strategy in the last six months.
“I am looking forward to help provide the strategic direction across the sport for the areas of safeguarding, coaching (development), officiating and facilities, as well as overseeing the connectivity of development in collaboration with the HCAFs focusing on club networks and systems, participation and education.”
Scotland’s population contributes only 5.5million to the UK’s 66 million but in track and field terms, Scotland punches well above its weight. Think Laura Muir, Jemma Reekie, Eilish McColgan, Eilidh Doyle, Callum Hawkins, Jake Wightman, Neil Gourley, Chris O’Hare, Josh Kerr, Lynsey Sharp, Guy Learmonth, Zoey Clark and Beth Dobbin etc. Munro has played a pivotal role in delivering the successful development strategy across athletics in Scotland, which has contributed to the development of these fine athletes.
The other major appointment has been Christian Malcolm as the Olympic Program Head Coach, an appointment which raised some eyebrows as he was preferred to the vastly experienced, Stephen Maguire, who masterminded Britain’s recent relay successes. Malcolm has also never been a personal coach to an athlete.
At the same time staff are leaving UKA at the moment as Jo Coates implements her vision for the future. Among them is Cherry Alexander, Major Events Director, who when appointed in 2019 became the first ever female vice-president of European Athletics, a role she still holds. Alexander was at the heart of the delivery of London 2017 – IAAF and IPC World Championships, serving as Managing Director – as well as World Indoors 2018, Olympics and Paralympics in 2012 and the Anniversary Games. It seems astonishing that there is no role in the brave new UK Athletics set-up for someone with Alexander’s experience and expertise.
I also understand that the UKA Media team, generally regarded as the best in the sport worldwide is being dismantled with five staff cut to just one.