Golden swimming coach takes Wales title

With another Paralympic Games medal haul that would place him above major world nations on the medal table, legendary swimming coach Billy Pye has today added the Sport Wales Coach of the Year title to his list of 2012 successes.

Pye's team of Swansea Performance Centre swimmers returned from London with a medal haul of 11, including two golds and two world records, to make up 9% of the ParalympicsGB total.

Poster girl Ellie Simmonds led the way with two golds, a silver and a bronze. Stephanie Millward also picked up five medals, four silvers and one bronze. And there were bronze medals too for Sam Hynd and Matthew Whorwood.

Billy Pye Billy Pye Award

At the annual ceremony in Cardiff, three lifetime achievement awards were handed out. One was to Clive Barsi MBE who, at the age of 74, is still the heart and soul of Penydarren Boys and Girls Football Club in Merthyr.

There were also lifetime awards for seventy year-old Alun Mummery, secretary of Llanfairpwll Football Club, for his half a century of work.  The other went to Denbigh Golf Club's Bruce Carlyle, who has been involved in the development of junior golf since the 1960s and, in his 80th year, shows no sign of slowing down.

Other winners at this year's ceremony include Tim Newhouse, the North Wales cricket coach who kick-started a women's community club from scratch to win Community Coach of the Year.

The driving force of the Valleys Gymnastics Academy, Melissa Anderson picked up the Volunteer of the Year award, while Swansea's Ainsley Richards picked up the Young Volunteer of the Year title for her tireless work in 2012.

The first ever Sporting Partner of the Year is Capel Curig-based The Outdoor Partnership, while Rhyl's Mike Hayes picked up the award for top Coach to Disabled Sportspeople.

Inspirational Aaron Evans took the prize as the Young Coach of the Year for his football work with young people in Denbighshire. Neil Smith, the man who helped put Paralympic gold medallist Mark Colbourne on track for London 2012 success, took the Performance Development Coach of the Year title.

For his work in training young leaders at schools across Caerphilly, Neil Roberts picked up the Contribution to Coach Development.

COTY Finalists

Billy Pye pipped Warren Gatland and Anthony Hughes to the Performance Development Coach of the Year accolade. However, there was special recognition for Gatland and his national rugby coaching team for their successful and consistent year of performances.

Emphasising the importance of coaches to Welsh sport, Welsh Government funding helps Sport Wales invest around £5 million each year in grassroots and elite coaching.

Sports Minister Huw Lewis said:

"I'm sure this evening's ceremony will be remembered as a very special occasion as we celebrate some of the most inspirational and successful coaches Wales has ever seen. I would like to extend my congratulations to all of the winners, and those who were nominated for an award, for the tireless work they do to support and nurture our current, and future, sporting superstars."

Sport Wales, along with its partners, has committed to doubling the number of coaches and volunteers in Wales, to around 250,000 by 2016 - around 10% of the population.

Chair of Sport Wales, Professor Laura McAllister said:

"It has been an unforgettable year for sport in Wales and it has been a pleasure to recognise these individuals who have contributed so much at grassroots and elite level.

"Billy is rightly viewed as one of the top coaches in UK sport and world swimming. His success is something which all of us in Welsh sport are proud of.

"It is a privilege to meet all our winners and finalists and I hope that in some small way this awards ceremony goes some way to thanking them for their dedication and commitment. They are the role models that we want the Welsh public to follow to help us bring through the next generation of young sportspeople."

For more information on coaching and volunteering in Wales, and the Coach of the Year awards, visit www.sportwales.org.uk.

The Sport Wales Coach of the Year Awards 2012 recognise achievements from 1st September 2010 to August 31st 2012 (including Paralympic Games).

The Winners:

Community Coach of the Year - Sponsored by Cardiff Self Storage

Tim Newhouse - Cricket

Tim Newhouse

In November 2011, Hope Hawks Cricket Club did not exist. However, Tim lobbied the Cheshire Women's Cricket League to allow this club with a name, but no players, to join the league.  He recruited players from hockey clubs, football clubs and high schools throughout North Wales and ran cricket taster sessions.  He also ensured that the cricket fixtures would not overlap with the women's hockey and football season.  Scheduling every home fixture at a different home ground to spread the appeal, they finished a hugely successful first campaign.

Sporting Partner of the Year - Sponsored by Brand 68                     

The Outdoor Partnership

Outdoor Partnership

The partnership has expanded its role from being a delivery body providing outdoor activities for local people to an organisation that provides extensive volunteering, coaching and employment opportunities to local people.

Established in 2005, the partnership now has 60 new outdoor clubs, 4000 club members and 500 instructors.  Key achievements in 2011/12 include 203 individuals attending governing body courses and 480 volunteers trained up as leaders.

Young Coach of the Year - Sponsored by Cardiff Metropolitan University

Aaron Evans - Football

Aaron Evans

At the age of just 24, Aaron has played for the Great British junior football team, Everton Football Club, and also represented his country as a Welsh international.

Now, after coaching at Juventus in Italy, he spends his time at Denbighshire primary schools passing on his knowledge to children and young people.

Although his Cerebral Palsy means that he cannot see properly out of his left eye, hear properly out of his left ear, and has very little mobility on his left side, it won't stop him inspiring the next generation.

Coach to Disabled Sportspeople of the Year - Sponsored by Deloitte

Mike Hayes

Mike Hayes

A Paralympian himself at Barcelona in 1992, when Mike stopped competing professionally he remained actively involved in disability sports including tennis and rugby in his community.

He established the Celtic Warriors Wheelchair Basketball Club and has played an active role in developing three new clubs in Rhyl, Conwy and Gwynedd, working tirelessly as a volunteer to promote opportunities for disabled people.

Young Volunteer of the Year - sponsored by Under Armour through Total Teamwear

Ainsley Richards - Multi-Sports

Ainsley Richards

Ainsley is an inspirational individual who does more than just volunteering at schools and the in the community.

With multiple coaching and leaders qualifications she volunteers at a local badminton club and is establishing a new junior netball club.

Ainsley spent the summer in London as a Gamesmaker at the Olympic badminton event and has been interviewed for numerous Welsh language radio and TV broadcasts to help promote sport and young people.

She is also a member of the UK young ambassadors steering group.

Volunteer of the Year - Sponsored by Bay Leisure Limited

Melissa Anderson - Gymnastics

Melissa Anderson

Melissa is the Managing Director and Head Coach of Valleys Gymnastics Academy.  The facility began with a membership of less than 100 and this has now grown to approximately 650, with hundreds of children looking for places since the 2012 Olympic Games.  She oversees the day-to-day running of the club and manages a paid and volunteer staff of over 40 people.

All on top of a full-time job, she also coaches and has set up a Millennium Volunteers project that has produced 20 new young leaders.

Performance Development Coach of the Year - Sponsored by Sporting Wales Magazine

Neil Smith - Cycling

Neil Smith

As well as his club work Neil became actively involved in the Disability Sport Wales Academy programme seven years ago, offering specialist coaching to identified individuals to train within the Paralympic discipline of Para-Cycling.

After first meeting Mark Colbourne at Rookwood Hospital following an accident that saw Mark break his back, Ian re-introduced him to cycling by means of stabilisers.  Progress was rapid and saw Mark win gold and two silver medals at the Paralympic Games in London.

High Performance Coach of the Year - Sponsored by The Maltings Limited

Billy Pye - Swimming

At London 2012 Billy had seven swimmers representing ParalympicsGB.

His team of Swansea Performance Centre swimmers returned from London with a medal haul of 11, including two golds and two World Records, to make up 9% of the ParalympicGB total.

Poster girl Ellie Simmonds led the way with two golds, a silver and a bronze. Stephanie Millward also picked up five medals, four silvers and one bronze. And there were bronze medals too for Sam Hynd and Matthew Whorwood.

He has previously coached Welsh multi-medallists David Roberts and Liz Johnson.

Billy has been a key partner in developing disability swimming talent and performance pathways from Swim Wales into British Swimming programmes and has helped to mentor coaches.

Coach Educator of the Year - Sponsored by sports coach UK

Neil Roberts - Multi-Sports

Neil Roberts

Neil Roberts has worked throughout the last year to inspire a generation of pupils to actively take part in leadership to deliver sports and activities to a range of different age groups in a number of settings.

Neil has delivered the Sport Caerphilly 'Coaches of the Future' programme to 16 and 17 year-olds and delivered the Active Young People leaders course to pupils across all 14 secondary schools.  He also delivered the six hour course to over 200 pupils throughout the borough for the pupils to assist in the delivery of Dragon Sport clubs in primary schools, and providing them with the opportunity to begin on the coaching pathway.

Lifetime Achievement Awards

1.  Alun Mummery

Alun Mummery

Seventy year-old Allan is secretary of Llanfairpwll Football Club and has been involved in football for more than half a century.  He is the main fundraiser and programme editor and until three years ago he was also the groundsman.

2. Clive Barsi

Clive Barsi

Clive is the heart and soul of Penydarren Boys and Girls Football Club. The club has hundreds of children and adults playing football and Clive has been awarded an MBE for what he achieved at the club. He is now 74 years of age but still spends over 60 hours at the club working on maintaining the ground and the club facilities, washing kits, making teas and a range of other duties.

3. Bruce Carlyle

Bruce Carlyle

Bruce has been involved in the development of junior golf since the 1960s and, in his 80th year, shows no sign of finishing.

Many of the youngsters who have passed through Bruce's care have gone on to be national and international players, with two having played in the Walker Cup and many becoming golf professionals and coaches and some on World tour.

Special Recognition

Wales Rugby Coaching Team

A hugely successful year for the Welsh rugby union national team owes much to the quality of the coaching team that is now in place.

Playing a brand of rugby that is steeped in the best traditions of the great teams of the past, the coaching team embraces all modern aspects of preparation and development to ensure high quality performance at the highest levels.