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Super coach strikes UK gold

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By Lisa Barbour
Super coach strikes UK gold

AN ANNAN rugby coach had to pinch himself in amazement after picking up a top prize at the star-studded 2015 UK Coaching Awards this week.

Gary Coupland was named national Children’s Coach of the Year at the prestigious black-tie event at the Midland Hotel in Manchester on Tuesday evening — only a week after he scooped sportscotland’s Young Persons Coach of the Year accolade in Glasgow.
The showpiece event, which honours sports coaches and coaching organisations who have demonstrated outstanding success over the previous 12 months, is one of the most prestigious within the coaching community.
And the 54-year-old was singled out for praise by the judging panel for his work with youngsters in the Annan area.

stewart harris, chief executive of sportscotland
Gary is presented with his award by sportscoland chief executive Stewart Harris

He said: “For someone who comes from a small town like I do, to be recognised at the UK Coaching Awards is just fantastic – absolutely fantastic.
“I was just shocked and stunned when I found out I had won. The other two nominees were fantastic and I’m finding it hard to believe. It was a fantastic night and there were so many inspirational people there.”
The retired detective inspector plays a very active role within Annan Rugby Club -holding the positions of vice president, fixture secretary, referee secretary and coaching co-ordinator.
And as well as delivering fun rugby coaching sessions at mini and midi level, he was also involved in the initial set-up of the women’s and girls’ teams.

gary marion
Celebrating are, left to right, Marion Murdoch, Gary Coupland, Susan Coupland and Calum Graham

Honoured to have followed in the illustrious footsteps of previous winners including Manchester United legend Sir Alex Ferguson, Gary added: “I’ve been involved in coaching for three years; I played for 28 years but I’ve only actually been involved
with coaching fairly recently.
“To come through and get the award now is humbling and unbelievable – it’s stuff of fantasies really.
“Seventy-five per cent of all coaches are volunteers in the UK and that’s why it’s important to support them and recognise the work they do.”

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