News and events

News

Karen Atkinson with colleagues

Atkinson to step down as Loughborough Lightning Netball Head Coach

Loughborough Lightning Netball can today (Thursday 20 July) confirm that Head Coach Karen Atkinson will be stepping down from her position due to an impending move to Italy.

Atkinson, who has been part of the Loughborough University franchise as both a player and coach, leaves the programme in fantastic shape after a tremendous 2016/17 season. Vitality Netball Super League (VNSL) grand finalists and league winners, Atkinson’s Loughborough netball programme were also victorious at BUCS level.

An England international centre court and former captain, Atkinson was a key player in the early days of the franchise before returning three years ago as Head Coach.

Joining during a transition period, the now mother of two first steadied the ship, before building a highly successful performance culture. Results soon followed, with the 2016/17 season Lightning’s most successful ever.

Of her decision, Atkinson said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as Head Coach of Loughborough Lightning and I am sad to be leaving at such an exciting time for the programme.

"The players, coaches and support staff have been a pleasure to work with and I will have so many fond memories of my time at Loughborough.  

“The opportunity we have as a young family to live overseas and immerse ourselves in a new culture is extremely exciting and one we could not turn down, but I hope one day to be back working within netball in England and I will be keeping up-to-date with the Super League from afar, supporting Lightning as much as I can.”

Loughborough Sport Executive Director John Steele commented: “Karen has made a huge impact across performance netball at Loughborough in her three seasons with us.

"She has shaped and developed a highly effective performance culture and we have seen results within both the Vitality Netball SuperLeague and BUCS competitions, most notably as VNSL League winners and Grand Finalists in 2017.

“We are also very proud of the players who have gone on to international honours during Karen’s time with us and thank Karen for the pivotal role she has played in their development. Loughborough University wishes Karen and her family well with their overseas adventure and we look forward to continuing our relationship with her over the coming years.”

Lightning Netball will now commence the recruitment process to identify a new Head Coach ready for the 2017/18 VNSL season.

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 17/103

Loughborough University is equipped with a live in-house broadcast unit via the Globelynx network. To arrange an interview with one of our experts please contact the press office on 01509 223491. Bookings can be made online via www.globelynx.com

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines. It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world to study sports-related subjects in the 2017 QS World University Rankings and top in the country for its student experience in the 2016 THE Student Experience Survey.

Loughborough was ranked 6th in the Guardian University League Table 2018 and 10th in The UK Complete University Guide 2018 and was also named Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017. It has been awarded a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework, which recognises institutions that deliver consistently outstanding teaching that is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.

Categories