Severn Stars can confirm that Head Coach, Sam Bird, is moving on from the Club after three years of service.
Sam has been with the Stars since the very beginning when she joined the coaching team as Assistant Coach, working alongside then Head Coach, Mo’onia Gerrard in late 2016. Upon Mo’onia’s departure after the debut 2017 season, Sam took over as Head Coach, a role she has performed for the last two years.
During that time, the Club progressed from eighth in its first year to sixth place in the last two seasons. She also led Stars to two semi-final places in consecutive years at the British Fast5 All-Stars Championships. The Club has qualified for this competition again this year which takes place in October.
Sam said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Stars. It has been a pleasure to work with the team from the beginning and through three seasons. In particular I have enjoyed collaborating with the players and staff who have worked together to produce some very exciting and dramatic netball for the Club. It has been very rewarding to see players signed by the Club make improvements in their game play and understanding and being passionate about playing for Stars. I am a player centred coach, so I will certainly miss the players that I have got to know on a professional and personal level. I wish the Club every success in the future.”
Sam reflected on the excellent form her team has shown particularly away from home this season, taking victories on the road against then top of the table Manchester Thunder, Strathclyde Sirens, Celtic Dragons, London Pulse and Surrey Storm.
She also highlighted some of the great matches of this season, such as losing by just one goal to Loughborough Lightning at the University of Worcester Arena, and good wins against Celtic Dragons and Strathclyde Sirens at the University of Gloucestershire Sports Arena.
Mick Donovan, Co-Director of Severn Stars, and Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor (Inclusive Sport & Educational Development) at the University of Worcester, said: “We would like to thank Sam for everything she has done in her time at the Club and for her hard work and dedication towards making the team and franchise a success.”
Anita Navin, Co-Director of Severn Stars, and Head of the School of Sport and Exercise at the University of Gloucestershire, said: “Sam has been integral to making the Club what it is today and we wish her every success in the future. We will be looking to make an announcement about a new Head Coach in the coming weeks.”
Sam has a busy summer ahead of her as Head Coach for England A (a team made up of England Roses players not picked for the top 12 squad for the World Cup), which will be playing a number of the top international teams coming to the Netball World Cup, which takes place in the UK in July. Sam will also be delivering a coaching session at the international Make the Game LIVErpool Coaching and Officiating conference to coincide with the Netball World Cup.
Photo credit: Rockpool Photography