A Lightning return for new head coach Karen Atkinson

Netball Superleague team Loughborough Lightning has announced today the appointment of Karen Atkinson as their new head coach.

Karen has strong links to Loughborough after graduating from the University in 2000 with a degree and masters in PE and Sports Science.

She also played for Loughborough Lightning at the start of the Netball Superleague from 2006 before moving to Hertfordshire Mavericks.

Whilst a student at Loughborough Karen received her first senior England team call-up in 1997.

In an illustrious international career Karen represented England in 122 matches, making her the second most capped player in English history.

She won three Commonwealth Games bronze medals in 1998, 2006 and 2010, and two World Championship Bronze medals in 1999 and 2011.

After retiring from playing Karen has been coaching with the Mavericks, who reached the play-off semi-finals last season.

Speaking of her appointment Karen Atkinson said:

“I am extremely grateful to have spent the last eight years playing and coaching at Hertfordshire Mavericks, the opportunities it has given me and the fantastic people I have been able to work with.

“However it feels fitting to come back to Loughborough where I started my Superleague career and I am excited about the new challenges it will bring.”

At the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, Karen was the Athlete Representative for Team England and technical coach to the England Netball squad.

Karen’s sporting achievements were recognised in the 2014 New Year’s honours list, where she was awarded with an MBE for services to netball.

Peter Keen, Director of Sport Advancement and Strategy at Loughborough University said:

“I am delighted that we have appointed Karen Atkinson as the new head coach of Loughborough Lightning.

“Karen is a highly respected figure within sport. I am confident that she will greatly enhance our netball programme and build a competitive squad in readiness for the new Superleague season.”

Karen will commence her post at the end of August and will start the recruitment process for the new Superleague season that will begin in the New Year.

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