Loughborough Sport

With a clear focus on student experience and performance excellence the team supports sport at every level through worldleading coaching, developing outstanding student experiences, state of the art facilities and superb events. All this work is towards one clear goal, to create a sporting experience so positive it is life shaping.

Senior Leadership Team

Headshot of Rich Wheater

Richard Wheater, Director of Sport

The Director of Sport role is responsible for leading Loughborough Sport, which manages the non-academic element of sport at Loughborough, such as the many sporting facilities across campus, engaging a multitude of sports and commercial partners, developing the next generation of the sports workforce, and managing both elite sport and recreational sports offerings, such as performance athletes and the Athletic Union, which has approximately 5,500 members.

Richard graduated from Cambridge with an MA in History and Philosophy of Science and a master's in business administration (MBA). He is a former British Army Officer, having served with the Royal Engineers.

He has extensive experience in the sector, having worked in athletics for a number of years holding positions such as Head of Coaching for England Athletics before securing a role as Head of Coaching and Development at British Athletics. Additionally, he has strong relationships with a range of national governing bodies and other major partners such as UK Sport, UKSI, Sport England and the Youth Sport Trust.

Joining Loughborough in 2015, Richard began his journey here as Performance Director and in 2017 this was expanded to Performance and Development Director. Throughout his time at the University, he has been involved in the development of thousands of student-athletes – from those in their early careers to those who have accomplished podium positions at worldwide events including the Olympics and Paralympics.

Headshot of Caroline Smith

Caroline Smith, Support Services Manager

Caroline has over 13 years’ experience working within the sports industry. She leads the Business and Operations Management Team within Loughborough Sport managing the departmental budget, HR function and admin teams.

Caroline has key experience with the creation of multimillion pound sports tenders. She is the departmental lead for contract creation, delivering agreements across all of Loughborough Sports commercial relationships. She manages a multimillion pound annual budget and is the project lead on key projects ensuring they are successfully project managed and implemented.

She has been instrumental in the creation of all key strategic relationships across Loughborough Sport.

Headshot of Jo Emmett

Jo Emmett, Head of Performance Programmes

Jo Emmett came back to study Sports Management at Loughborough University in her mid 20s and has been involved in the University ever since.  She then worked for the Youth Sport Trust on the Gifted & Talent Programme which aimed to help school aged children to balance their study and sport priorities.  Jo joined Loughborough Sport in 2008 as the Education & Development Manager, continuing to aid University students to balance their sport & their studies, and gain life skills.

Jo moved into a strategic manager role in 2010, which has taken many paths but now forms her current role as Head of Performance Programmes.  Jo oversees the ‘off pitch’ aspects of the University performance programmes and the Athletic Union.

Prior to Loughborough Jo did an Economics and German degree at the University of East Anglia and worked at the Bank of England as a banking analyst covering South America.


Liv Murphy

Liv Murphy, Interim Head of Performance

Olivia Murphy is a Loughborough graduate having completed her Economics with Accountancy degree in 1998. Following a stint as a trainee accountant Olivia returned to Loughborough as the inaugural Director of Netball in 2006.

Following that, Olivia worked for England Netball as a Regional Manager before returning to her performance roots in the roles of Performance Pathway Manager and managing the Intensive Training Centres.

Olivia is a former England Netball Athlete and Captain. Olivia played from U18 age group through to the Senior team, gaining 95 Caps and representing England at 3 Commonwealth Games and 2 World Championships-6 Years as Captain.

Olivia has been an England Netball Technical Coach for the since 2014 coaching all age groups from U17 to most recently the Senior Roses team. She has coached Loughborough Lightning since its inception where she is currently the Netball Superleague side’s Assistant Coach.

In addition, at Loughborough University, Olivia has held the roles of Senior Performance programme Manager and Head of Performance Support.

Rich Ellis, Interim Head of Commercial Partnerships and Sports Facilities