Coach Titmuss ready for new Hemel season
Report from Hemel Storm
When Hemel Storm plays Leicester at home on September 22nd it will be at the same venue where the Club’s respected Head Coach Dave Titmuss first led his home-town team back in 1977.
Since that time Coach Titmuss’ club sides have won 17 national titles including scooping all four - Trophy, National Cup, league and playoffs - in a perfect 36 - 0 Division One season at Reading in 2009.
Titmuss coached Hemel and Thames Valley Tigers (now Guildford Heat) in the forerunner to the BBL, and in 2010 took Worthing Thunder to the BBL playoffs in their second season in the League.
Internationally, Titmuss had successful spells as head coach with England senior and junior teams and took the men to the European Championship Semi-Final round after winning the qualifying tournament in Turkey for the first time. He also coached GB’s World University Games squad and the British Paralympic team that under him won Gold, Silver and Bronze medals at the world level.
Mark Lloyd, GB Under-20’s team manager whose 17 year-old son Jacob is on Hemel’s roster, will coach at the Club with Titmuss this season: “I think he’s simply the best that this country has produced. I’ve worked with him at international level and seen at first-hand how he maximises potential. He’s a teaching-coach and a programme builder, and he’s no dinosaur either, he’s always at the cutting edge technically - practice is like a clinic!”
None of Coach Titmuss’ players at Hemel this season was born when their 66 year-old coach was stalking the sidelines in the 1977/78 National League season and the club was known as Hemel Lakers. In his early years and as a keen student of the game, coach Titmuss went on study trips to major American universities and spent time in Atlanta looking at key ideas that underpin coaching in the NBA.
“My coaching was definitely influenced by what I learned in the ‘States,” said Titmuss, “But I think like many British coaches today I’m very interested in what is happening in the European game.”
In only its second year in the EBL as a Hemel-based team Storm was promoted to Division One last season when they secured an automatic berth following an impressive run of 11 victories in the second half of the season. The club also won the Patron’s Cup for the second year in a row, and played at home in front of packed crowds. They have a thriving youth program and a new sixth-form academy based at St Mary’s High School in Cheshunt, that is linked to the club.
“In a way our men’s team got promoted a year early in terms of our off-court work securing resources for the programme,” said Titmuss, “But everyone has rallied - we’ve got a great group of volunteers - and we’ve had terrific support also from people who were involved with the previous Hemel club back in the eighties and nineties.”
Titmuss is under no illusions about life in Division One: “We’ll have a similar squad to last season, all-English but with one or two important additions, and we’ll review things mid-season to see if we want to bring in imports.
“There’s no question that the level of competition will pose a real challenge for us. The way I see it if we lose a game because we’re out-talented then we’ll take the hit and move on, but if we lose because we’re out-executed or don’t think better than our opponents, then that won’t be acceptable.
“I like my team though, we have quality people involved and that’s the key. It was the same with my time at Reading, we built from the lower divisions with the right people on and off the court and ended-up on top of the pile.
“We’re a young club at Hemel and have a long way to go yet, but I’m certain that we’ll eventually bring a national championship to the town,” said Titmuss, adding: “Whatever level of competition you compete in I think you should always aim to be the best in it.”