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MBB Coaching Changes at the University of Chester

By Vlad Ionasc

Head Coach Chris Wilson, who guided Chester to Division 2 after five years in the role, has stepped down due to work and family commitments.

Wilson departs following a very successful season in which he saw his Chester side win the National Shield as well as the Division 3 North title. During his time at Chester he was awarded with the ‘Chester Student’s Union Coach of the Year Award’ at the end of the 2016/17 season. He also received the ‘NBL Division 3 North Coach of the Year Award’ during the hugely successful 2018/19 season.

We would like to say a big thank you to Chris for the work that he has put in during his tenure at the club and wish him the best of luck in the future!

Assistant Coach Andy Halsall has also stepped down following the great news that he and his wife are expecting twins. We would also like to congratulate Andy and thank him for his contribution during his time at Chester.

Replacing the departing staff members are Niel Gillard and Coach Chris Leonard. They will coach the team during the 2019/20 season in which the aim is promotion into Division 1.

Niel is a former Club Captain and Sports Scholar for the University of Chester and played a very pivotal role in the development of the Club during that time. He has Coached the BUCS First team for the past two seasons. In his first full season the First Team earned promotion to Division 1 after winning the the BUCS Cup and BUCS Division 2A, and last season the team lost out on the Division 1 title in the last game of the season.

Chris Leonard joins the University of Chester after 26 years experience of playing men’s basketball in the UK and abroad. He most recently coached in the Netherlands before returning for the UK last year, and he played his final year at Liverpool Stars.

Read more about Niel and Chris here.

Niel and Chris have been working with returning players over the summer period and look to continue the great work achieved by Chris Wilson and Andy Halsall. Coach Niel said:

The Men’s Basketball Club are extremely grateful for everything that Chris and Andy have done and they have given to the Club in their time here. It is without doubt that the Club would not have progressed in the way that it has without their help.

Chris and Andy have left the Club in a very healthy position and both me, and Chris Leonard are looking forward to continuing their great work and hope to bring even more success to the programme. 

We are looking forward to meeting the new students at the Taster Sessions, quickly organising the teams and getting the season started on Saturday 5th October away to Team Birmingham Elite.

Taster Sessions / Team Trials

All students wanting to join the Men’s Basketball Club can attend the Taster Sessions, tonight at 6 pm and Monday 7.30 pm in the Downes Sports Hall. Participants at the taster session may be invited to train for additional hour to trial for the Competition Teams. 

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