Medway Park Crusaders announce Division 1 head coach
Report courtesy Medway Park Crusaders
Medway Park Crusaders are pleased to announce Craig Nicol as the club’s new EBL Division 1 Men’s head coach.
Nicol, who assisted previous head coach James Vear over the last two seasons, becomes Medway’s third successive head coach who has been promoted from the assistant’s role.
He will go into the season as one of the youngest Division 1 coaches in the country, yet at 25-years-old, Nicol boasts a great deal of experience including the Scotland national teams set-up, the Scottish domestic league and his time with Medway.
Previous head coach James Vear, who worked with Nicol over the last two seasons, is confident that the Scot can build upon the growing success of the men’s programme and is pleased to see his assistant get take the reins.
“Congratulations to Craig on being promoted to the head coaching position," said Vear. "He is a very good young coach and I am sure he will do well this season. In the year we worked together Craig was a huge help to me and the players. I think it’s a good time for him to move up the coaching ladder and develop his coaching career.”
Crusaders chairman Jesse Sazant says that after speaking with a number of high-profile domestic and international coaches for the job, Nicol stood out as the club’s best choice.
“We have always said that developing players and coaches is the number one priority for our club. Craig is a perfect example of an up and coming coach we can support in his development to enable him to progress. He has worked incredibly hard during his year at Crusaders and earned the respect of the directors and players. I am sure he will put everything into this new role and be very successful,” said Sazant.
Nicol, is understandably looking forward to starting his new role and getting the season going.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to take on the head coach role of an already established EBL [Division] 1 team. James left a strong programme which I want to keep building on. We’ve got a good group of players together. I am really excited to start working with the guys who are returning and our exciting new prospects.”
Also joining the staff for next season, will be Canadian Jamie Searle who will be player/coach of the EBL Division 4 men’s team. Searle was a league all-star at Lakehead University in 2011, before taking on an assistant coach role with them last year as he completed his teaching degree.
Searle said: "I know it’s going to make me a better player and a better coach, which is my long term goal – when my body won’t let me play anymore. I just want to thank everyone at Medway Park, and Jesse especially, for giving me this chance of a lifetime, to keep playing at such a high level and a chance to get a head start on my coaching career.”
The Crusaders have also announced their junior coaching staff. Mark Crncich takes on the U18 Premier team, having relocated from Taunton. In Taunton Crncich was also involved with South West regional teams and the South West APC.
As well as doing the men’s team, Nicol will continue in his role as U16 coach as the make the jump to U16 Premier.
Finally, the junior section’s most successful coach, Matt Fenton, returns as U14 coach looking to add to the multiple national quarterfinals he has reached.