Degree Speeches
Winter 2003

Frank W Dick OBE

Public Orator, Professor Stuart Biddle presented the Honorary Graduand at the Degree Ceremony held on Monday 15 December 2003



Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, Graduates, Ladies and Gentlemen

Loughborough University’s motto for sport is Developing People, Developing Sport. Today, we are honouring an outstanding coach who has worked at the highest level in sport and whose legacy spans many sports disciplines, although his influence has been most keenly felt in track and field athletics. Over many years, he has developed people and sport.

Frank Dick was educated at the Royal High School in Edinburgh before moving to Loughborough to train as a teacher of physical education and mathematics between 1962 and 1965. It was at Loughborough where, as an international athlete himself, he was influenced by lecturer Geoff Gowan, later the Director of Sport Canada, and other Loughborough staff, such as Basil Stamatakis. Their imagination, innovation but, above all, meticulously high standards, inspired Frank to achieve equally high standards in his work as a coach. In 1968, Frank also graduated from another hot-bed for athletics, the University of Oregon.

In 1970, Frank Dick was appointed National Coach for Athletics in Scotland and in 1979 he moved to become Director of Coaching for UK Athletics. It was during this period that the Great Britain and Northern Ireland athletics team rose to become a genuine power in world athletics, led in particular by male track stars such as Sebastian Coe, Steve Ovett, Steve Cram, and Dave Moorcroft, in addition to the double-Olympic decathlon champion Daley Thompson. Daley was coached by Frank and rose to become one of the world’s greatest ever athletes.

Frank has also used his expertise in coaching and training in athletics to benefit other sporting greats, including Boris Becker in tennis, Gerhard Berger in F1 racing, Katerina Witt in ice-skating and, currently Justin Rose in golf. Few coaches have successfully transferred their expertise across sports in this way and at such a high level.

During this period of highly successful coaching, Frank’s contribution to sport was widened further through his writing and organisational leadership. In 1980, his book Sports Training Principles was first published. Now in its 4th edition, this has become a classic multidisciplinary text and was considered ahead of its time in applying science to sport. In addition, Frank has been Chair of the British Association of National Coaches, Chair of the British Institute of Sports Coaches, and was appointed President of the European Athletics Coaches Association, a position he still holds.

In 1989 he was awarded the OBE for services to sport. In 1998, he was inducted into the UK Coaches Hall of Fame and was presented with the prestigious Geoffrey Dyson award.

Today, Frank Dick remains a successful coach both in sport and business settings, the latter having included BMW, Royal Scottish Insurance, and American Express, where he can apply his experience of, and passion for, motivation and high level achievement.

Chancellor, for his outstanding contribution to coaching and sport, I have the honour to present to you, and the University, Frank Dick, OBE, for the degree of Doctor of Technology, honoris causa.


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  H.D.McCullam@lboro.ac.uk, December 2003

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