Leeds Rhinos: McDermott named Coach of the Year

Brian McDermott
Brian McDermott
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LEEDS Rhinos’ Brian McDermott was the big winner at a star-studded 2015 UK Coaching Awards as he was one of 12 to have their achievements rewarded in Manchester.

This year saw McDermott lead Leeds Rhinos to an historic treble as they topped the Super League table before going on to beat Wigan Warriors in the Grand Final as well as picking up the Challenge Cup.

It was only the third time in the Super League era that such a feat had been achieved and the silverware keeps coming for McDermott after he took home the Coach of the Year Award at the 2015 UK Coaching Awards at the iconic Midland Hotel in Manchester.

Previous winners of the top-gong award include Gary Street, Warren Gatland, Toni Minichiello and Andy Flower, with McDermott admitting it was an honour to add his name to such a prestigious list.

“Whenever one person gets recognised for coaching there are so many more people that are part of it,” said McDermott.

“The whole club here has a part to play in it so personally I am unbelievably proud but I am proud for the whole club because it is a club achievement.

“It was massive to see everything come together and it was a combination of a few emotions. To pick up all three trophies is still sinking in but I think the emotion at the end was relief.

“Once we got the first and second to go into the Grand Final and be so close, had we lost it would have been a crying shame.

“We had some significant people leaving the club so we wanted to send them out on a high so my initial though after the game was relief.

“Everything needed balancing, there was some pressure coming to the back end and there was almost an anxiety because it would hurt not to do it.”

The UK Coaching Awards honour sports coaches and coaching organisations who have demonstrated outstanding success over the previous 12 months.

And McDermott was delighted to beat off challenges from a host of big-names in other UK sports and joining a prestigious list that includes the likes of 2013 Lions boss Warren Gatland.

He added: “When we won the Challenge Cup we thought we had the chance to do something special.

“I think all teams want to win trophies and I think a few clubs will say they have a chance of winning all three but it’s a hard thing to do.

“There are so many things that have to be put in place first and so many things that have to go your way. Managing all that and the expectations is tough and there is a job in itself there.

“Without a doubt it’s the number one achievement for me, it’s different from my fondest memories.

“But this is the industry I am in and this is what I do for a living and is ranked number one and will be for a long time.

“It was great to send people off on a high. There was a point where were asking wouldn’t it be nice to do that.

“We had three players leaving and initially I was distancing myself from that because I wanted to focus on getting the win and doing it for ourselves.

“But as the season got closer to the end and we got closer to the trophies I thought that’s what got us over the line.

“We had some really tight games towards the end so it was a big thing for us and a big thing for those three players.

“There’s a philosophy at the club where most people put their personal lives on hold and put their social lives on hold to get the job done.

“I’m a very fortunate coach because the environment I get to come and work in is provided for by a lot of other people.

“While players and staff get recognised it’s the whole club that provides an environment to succeed.

“With the profile the club has got there are certain expectations but in terms of our ability to train at a high level, operate at a high level and be the best we can be, this is where the club succeeds.

“What I used to believe in 2002 has changed and what you coach changes because the game changes.

“How you coach though only changes slightly, the nuts and bolts of it stay the same.

“Staying motivated is easy because while it was a tough season it was also unbelievably enjoyable as well.

“I think to finish like we did is a huge carrot and I don’t think there’s an element of thinking we need time off.

“There’s a genuine element of people wanting more and wanting to experience that again.

“We don’t get bored of it and the players don’t either. I don’t think any team will do the treble again but the desire is still there. “

*The UK Coaching Awards 2015, hosted by sports coach UK is a chance to recognise excellent coaching and coaching organisations that have achieved outstanding success over the past 12 months. For more information visit: www.sportscoachuk

Tom Briscoe.

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