England Hockey look back to the future with appointment of women’s coach

[img_assist|nid=7228|title=New challenge|desc= Jason Lee. will take charge of the England women’s hockey side – photo: Ady Kerry|link=node|align=left|width=220|height=180]LONDON, February 4 – Jason Lee has been appointed head coach of the England women’s team, but will not take up his role until his former position as men’s head coach is filled.

Lee, 42, who has led the England and Great Britain men’s hockey teams as head coach for three Olympic cycles, will then take the women’s side on as far as Rio 2016.

England Hockey decided not to reappoint Lee for the 2013-2016 men’s cycle. This followed a fourth-place finish at the London 2012 Games.

But Lee was identified as the best candidate for the women’s post when his application was compared with applicants from across the globe.

England Hockey chief executive Sally Munday explained: “Jason’s wealth of experience is extremely valuable to England Hockey and whilst we feel that the men’s programme needs a change of leadership.

“I was delighted that he applied for the role of women’s head coach. There was a strong field of candidates and the appointment panel felt that Jason was uniquely placed with his extensive international experience to take the women to the next level in our quest for higher podium finishes.”

Lee said: “The new challenge of coaching the women’s team is indeed an exciting one. They have achieved an exceptionally high standard of commitment and performance and I hope to be able to help them to win more medals, with the World Cup qualification and the EuroHockey Nations Championships this year being the first targets.

“I’ve had a long and emotional time in charge of the men’s team and I leave it with many great memories. I will miss not being in the men’s programme but am confident that they will be successful and wish the team the very best of luck.”

England Hockey performance director Danny Kerry said: “I’m extremely pleased that we have retained the expertise and vision that Jason brings to our programmes. His vast experience working at the top level of international sport will put us in a great position to continue the progress made in recent years. I believe Jason has the ability to take the women¹s programme further on, continuing to medal at major tournaments and progress the team’s play. Jason knows what it takes to win gold having led the England men to their first European Championship title in 2009 and I look forward to continuing to work with him.”

As a player, Lee competed for GB at the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games and for England at the 1998 World Cup. After making his senior international debut at the age of 19, he went on to make 87 appearances before retiring following the 1998 World Cup.

At club level, his playing career took him from Old Bordenians, through spells with Beckenham, East Grinstead, Old Loughtonians, Cannock and Loughborough Students. He still occasionally turns out for his local hockey club.

The recruitment process to appoint a new head coach for the England and Great Britain men’s squads will commence immediately. Lee will take up his role with the women’s squad once a new men’s head coach has been confirmed.