Richard Spratley marks 25th anniversary with Coach of the Year award

Friday, 29 April 2016

Richard Spratley

Last month, Richard Spratley, Director of Rowing at Brookes Boat Club was named as the GB Rowing Team’s Coach of the Year.

The award recognises Richard’s outstanding contribution to the sport and the development of young rowers and also marked his 25th anniversary coaching at Brookes. Richard was presented with the award at Taurus Boat Club’s – Brookes’ alumni rowing club –annual dinner. Commenting on receiving the award, Richard said: “It was a great and pleasant surprise, on arriving at our Club Dinner to see the Chairman of British Rowing and the Chief Olympic Coach. It was a tremendous honour to be presented with the Coach of the Year Award. 

Both the men and women’s squads have celebrated continued success over the years with some fantastic achievements in recent months – not least their impressive performance at Head of the River in March.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Alistair Fitt, Oxford Brookes University

“It was quite a shock to realise that I had actually been working for Brookes for 25 years and I look forward to many more years of leading the Oxford Brookes team.”

The award came on the same day as Oxford Brookes made history by winning the Head of the River Race for the first time. It was also the first time the race has been won by a full student crew for over 50 years..

Vice-Chancellor Professor Alistair Fitt said: “Huge congratulations to Richard on receiving his Coach of the Year award and for his hard work and commitment to the Brookes Boat Club over the last 25 years.

“Both the men and women’s squads have celebrated continued success over the years with some fantastic achievements in recent months – not least their impressive performance at Head of the River in March - and this is no doubt due, in large part, to Richard’s dedication and excellent leadership.”

Annamarie Phelps, Chairman of British Rowing, presented Richard with his award at the evening event. She said: “Richard has worked tirelessly with Oxford Brookes since 1991 and has helped make it into one of the leading rowing universities in this country. 

“I am delighted that we are able to present Richard with this well-deserved award but this award is not only about medal success. As well as the outstanding contribution Richard has made to the GB Rowing Team, he has instilled a culture of nurture, encouragement and loyalty amongst the students at the club. His protégés now extend throughout the country’s rowing clubs and many have become recognised high performance coaches in their own right: a true Brookes dynasty.”

With the Rio 2016 Olympic Games now less than 100 days away, Oxford Brookes University has high hopes for its elite athletes who could be rowing as part of Team GB. Keep a look out over the coming months as a new webpage will be launched with Olympic-themed stories and news.