17 Nov 2005

Ruddock stepped into the first team limelight in March 2004, succeeding Steve Hansen as National Coach to a team teetering on the edge of excellence. His coaching credentials boast of stints with his home-town team in Blaina to Director of Coaching roles at both Swansea and Leinster. Following successful spells at Ebbw Vale and the Gwent Dragons between 2000 and 2004, Ruddock went on to secure the top job on the Welsh rugby frontline.

Other coaches collecting their accolades today included:

FEMALE COACH OF THE YEAR Kathryn Morgan, Merthyr Tydfil girls football coach

VOLUNTEER COACH OF THE YEAR Tom Meyer, Cardiff at Cardiff Athletics Club

DISABLED COACH OF THE YEAR James Munkley, Cardiff. Coach to the Welsh EAD Table Tennis Team

TEACHER-COACH OF THE YEAR Beverley Hopkins. Palmerston Primary School, Barry.

The awards were presented in the year in which the Welsh Assembly Government announced that it will invest £3.9 million over three years in the Coaching Plan for Wales.

The plan provides the framework which aims to increase the number of coaches and leaders - both professional and voluntary - and recognise and promote coaching as a profession, with accredited qualifications and a real career development structure.

Assembly Government Sports Minister Alun Pugh AM, who was on hand to make today’s presentations, explained:

"Coaches have the ability to source and mould young talent into the stars of the future and instil the core values of hard work, accountability, belief and – above all – enjoyment into the game. Mike Ruddock’s work with the national squad is true testament to this notion.

"Coaches are the life blood of sport providing the first real experience of competitive physical activity for young people and so it’s also highly important that we realise and value the contributions made by school teachers and volunteers into sport in Wales. They are instrumental in our ongoing combined efforts to maintain Wales’ stature as a sporting powerhouse."

One of the key actions identified in ‘Climbing Higher’ is to increase the number and quality of coaches and leaders at all levels and to implement a community based infrastructure to support the recruitment and training of volunteers to help deliver sport and physical activity opportunities.

For further information about how you can get involved in coaching at all levels, visit the Coaching Wales website at or contact / email: