30th June 2009

Directors Announced


30 June 2009

Internationally-renowned North American athletics coaches Dan Pfaff and Derek Evely have been appointed Centre Directors for the newly established 2012 Performance Centres in Lee Valley, London and Loughborough University, which were announced by UKA last week.

Between them Pfaff and Evely have over 70 years worth of athletics coaching experience at elite level. American Pfaff will head the operation at Lee Valley and Evely will head up Loughborough, both will take up their roles in September after this summer’s IAAF World Championships.

Pfaff joins from the US Olympic Track and Field Training Centre in Chula Vista, near San Diego, California. He has a rich coaching pedigree which includes coaching 33 Olympians to seven Olympic medals and 45 athletes to the IAAF World Championships, where they have won 10 medals. Among the athletes he has coached is former Olympic and World 100m champion and world record holder Donovan Bailey.

Evely will come to the UK from managing the Canadian Athletics Coaching Centre in Edmonton, where he has established himself globally as an expert in athlete and coach development. He has been a Canada staff coach at numerous major international championships.

He has international coaching success in a breadth of events including throws, sprints and endurance, including former World Junior hammer silver medallist Dylan Armstrong, former World Junior 400m bronze medallist Shane Niemi and current World 800m silver medallist Gary Reed.

Both Pfaff and Evely have proven track records in managing elite performance training centres and coaching athletes at the highest level, the two main factors which UKA sought in recruiting the new Centre Directors for the 2012 Performance Centres. 

As well as making the 2012 Performance Centres world-leading environments of athletics excellence, part of Pfaff and Evely’s remits will include playing senior roles in the development of coach education in the UK.

Dan Pfaff said: “I have known Charles and Kevin for more than 20 years and have a huge professional respect for them. There is no doubt they face a big job over in the UK and the opportunity to be part of that presented me with an interesting challenge.

“I have worked in a lot of training centres and each turn-around is a little different and Lee Valley will be no exception. I know and respect a lot of players on ground there and I see myself as a facilitator and integrator who will support their ambition. Over thirty years in the business means I have developed networks across a variety of disciplines which I can utilise for GB athletes and coaches as we move towards 2012.”

Derek Evely said: “This is an outstanding opportunity to work within one of the strongest federations in the world going into a home Olympics, that coupled with the chance to work with Charles, Kevin, Peter and Niels made it pretty enticing.

“My plans for Loughborough are very simple; to make it the best centre in world. I am looking forward to meeting the athletes and coaches there and I hope bring a new style of leadership; one that will direct where direction is needed and support where support is needed and benefit British Track and Field.”

Charles van Commenee, UKA Head Coach – Olympics said: “If we want the UK to lead the world at the elite end of our sport, then we must have world-leaders in key positions. Dan Pfaff and Derek Evely certainly fit that criteria. Both are highly knowledgeable and highly respected figures within athletics who know exactly what it required to succeed at the highest level.

“Dan and Derek have the skills to create exactly the right type of environment in which elite athletes and coaches can thrive and which will enable them to fulfil their potential and be the best they possibly can. We have to give ourselves every possible opportunity to win in 2012. With these appointments, I am sure our chances of success have just become even better.”

Peter Eriksson, UKA Head Coach – Paralympics said: “I know both these individuals and they are fantastic coaches and highly-respected within elite sport. They will be key figures for our athletes in the lead up to the 2012 Paralympic Games. If our athletes are to succeed, they need the perfect environment to prepare. Dan and Derek are world leaders in creating the type of environment required to be the best.”

Kevin Tyler, UKA Head of Coaching and Development said: “These appointments are about making coaching the heart and more importantly – the brains – behind the performance and development in the UK.

“I have worked closely with both Dan and Derek previously and have the highest regard for both men. They bring with them the knowledge, skills and experience that can benefit our coaches and athletes not just in the short-term but in the long term too. As part of their remit, they will play leading roles in the development of coach education in the UK. 

“I expect them not only to have an instant impact, but to also leave a legacy which will benefit British athletes and coaches for decades to come.”