With exactly six months to go until the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Bobby Crutchley – Head Coach of the England and Great Britain men’s hockey team – today became the eighth inductee into the University of Bath Hall of Fame for Sport.
The 44-year-old, who is looking to lead GB to their first Olympic medal for 28 years this summer, was Head Hockey Coach at the University of Bath from 1999 to 2006.
Drawing on the experience he gained while winning 80 caps for England and GB as a player, as well as the ideas he picked up working alongside other sports’ world-class coaches, Crutchley oversaw a significant growth in the University’s hockey programme.
“I have to say thank you to everyone at the University of Bath for this humbling recognition,” he said.
“This place is incredibly special to me. My brother sent me the job advert back in the summer of 1999. I was still playing internationally, doing a bit of studying and coaching, but there wasn’t a lot around.
“This kind of job didn’t exist at the time – the only other full-time hockey job in the country was head of the national team. It’s testament to the University that it created this role, which I was lucky enough to get.
“I was put into this environment with a load of other young coaches who have gone on to achieve great things in their sports, as well as experienced coaches like the legendary Malcolm Arnold [athletics] and Lyn Gunson [netball].
“These are the environments that make a difference and Team Bath was, and is, special. Without a doubt, that experience is why I have my job today.”
Crutchley arrived at a time when closer links were being forged with Bath Buccaneers Hockey Club. They now play under the Team Bath name and are well established in the England Hockey League.
Ian Cordwell, who was Buccs captain in 1999 and now works at Monkton Combe School, described Crutchley’s arrival as ‘the equivalent of Bristol Rovers signing Lionel Messi’ and praised him for forging a supportive family atmosphere in the hockey section.
Crutchley – who still lives in Bath – transferred full-time to England Hockey in 2006 but continues to help coach the Team Bath Buccaneers Junior Academy at weekends when national commitments allow.
His initial international involvement was as Assistant Coach from 2005 to 2012, during which time England won the 2009 European Championships – their first major title since 1908.
After finishing fourth at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Crutchley took over as Head Coach and has overseen a significant transformation in both the playing squad and support staff.
In 2014 England were bronze medallists in the inaugural FIH World League, semi-finalists at the World Cup and won the nation’s first Commonwealth Games medal since Crutchley won bronze in 1998 as a player.
In 2015 he led Great Britain to qualification for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Crutchley has an MA in Coaching and has completed both the UK Sport Elite Coach and Mentor Development programmes. He is an accredited UK Sport and Sports Coach UK mentor, helping to develop elite coaching in the country.
As well as winning many National titles as a player, Crutchley holds the unique record of having been the top goalscorer in the Australian, English and Italian National Premier leagues.
Crutchley is the third coach in the University of Bath Hall of Fame for Sport, joining netball legend Lyn Gunson and Pentathlon GB Performance Director Jan Bartu.