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Monday 18 July 2005

 

Rod Marsh, MBE

Public Orator, Professor Stuart Biddle presented the Honorary Graduand at the Degree Ceremony held on Monday 18 July 2005 at 10.30am


Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, Guests, Graduates, Ladies and Gentlemen

Loughborough University has an unrivalled reputation in sport. It has helped to produce international experts in performance, coaching, science, and managerial leadership in sport – and even the leader of the London 2012 bid! We believe in sport in the fullest sense, hence our moto for Loughborough Sport – Developing People, Developing Sport. Today, we are honouring an outstanding person in the field of sport whose legacy in the world of cricket is as a performer at the highest level and in the development of people in cricket, as well as the sport of cricket itself.

Rod Marsh’s position in international cricket is now firmly established as one of the all-time great wicket keeper batsmen. In a game comfortable with statistics, his own data are indeed impressive. He played for Australia in 96 test matches between 1970 and 1984 and secured 355 dismissals, then a world record. These were great Australian teams including the likes of Lillee and Thompson; he also scored 3633 runs. Selected for 14 overseas tours, including six to England, Rod was regularly the vice-captain at home and abroad and was Wisden World Cricketer of the year in 1982.

Following such a highly successful playing career is never easy, as many famous competitors have discovered. But after a spell in the media, both as a cricket journalist and TV and radio commentator, Rod was appointed Head Coach of the Australian Cricket Academy. This appointment was to last for 10 years and produced the undisputed best team in the world. The academy produced 27 players who have played for Australia including Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, and Ricky Ponting. The England and Wales Cricket Board then recruited Rod to be the first Director of the ECB national academy. The performance of a currently successful and still improving England senior side is based on many players guided to this level by Rod Marsh and his academy staff. The recent records of Andrew Strauss, Steve Harmison, and Kevin Pietersen speak for themselves. 16 academy players have now played test cricket for England and 21 have played in one-day internationals. This is the best cricket training environment in the world - here on the Loughborough campus. At the initial announcement that the Academy would be based at Loughborough it was noted by High Morris (the Performance Director of the ECB and the man responsible for bringing Rod to England) that "Loughborough offers the ideal environment for the development of England’s next generation of international cricketers and high performance coaches". Rod once famously labelled England's best pace bowlers as 'pie-chuckers' but then became their successful mentor!

Rod has always been happy to give his time to our university players. He is not only one of the World’s best coaches, but is a gentleman and a great ambassador for sport, for Australian cricket, and in recent years for the ECB and for Loughborough University.

Chancellor, for his outstanding achievements in the playing, coaching and development of cricket, I have the honour to present to you, and to the whole University, RODNEY MARSH, MBE, for the degree of Doctor of Technology, honoris causa.

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Loughborough University - Degree Speeches 2005

H.D.McCullam@lboro.ac.uk, July 2005
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