Olympic-winning hockey coach Danny Kerry could quit the sport after Tokyo Games - exclusive

Yahoo News UK
Kerry pictured in July 2008. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Kerry pictured in July 2008. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Danny Kerry, regarded as one of Great Britain's most successful coaches, has said he could leave hockey following the delayed Tokyo Olympics.

Kerry famously coached Great Britain women to gold at the 2016 Olympics in one of the standout moments of the Rio Games - and is now set to attempt a unique Olympic double with GB men in Tokyo after quitting the women’s role in 2018. But his hockey future beyond next summer is uncertain.

Kerry says he has had discussions with Eton College, which earlier this year advertised for a new director of sport.

Kerry told Yahoo UK: “As is the case toward the end of an Olympic cycle I, like others in roles similar to mine, have been approached about opportunities. The role at Eton College is one of the opportunities that have been presented to me and I met with them.

“I have spent an exciting 18 months building the men’s squad with a view to excelling both in Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024, but I am acutely aware I have no divine right to continue in post after Tokyo. As such, like many in my position, it was prudent to evaluate what my future holds.”

Kerry coached the GB women's hockey team to a famous gold at the Rio Olympics. (MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP via Getty Images)
Kerry coached the GB women's hockey team to a famous gold at the Rio Olympics. (MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP via Getty Images)
Kerry gives the team a talk after their win during the Men's Hockey World Cup Cross-over match between England and New Zealand in December 2018 in India. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images for FIH)
Kerry gives the team a talk after their win during the Men's Hockey World Cup Cross-over match between England and New Zealand in December 2018 in India. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images for FIH)

Eton College, the prestigious public school in Berkshire, advertised for a director of sport earlier this year, with interviews taking place in March, before the Tokyo Olympics was postponed until next year due to the ongoing pandemic.

An Eton College spokesperson denied Kerry, who is 50 in December, had already been appointed in the role.

After first working with national junior teams in the late Nineties, Kerry had two stints over a 13-year period coaching GB and England women. He guided England women to London 2012 bronze before leading them to one of the most memorable moments of the Rio Games four years later as they secured Olympic gold for the first time, beating the Dutch in an unforgettable shoot-out.

After several key retirements, Kerry was unable to add gloss to his CV when England exited the 2018 World Cup in London at the quarter-final stage. He was announced as England and GB men's coach in autumn 2018 with his teams finishing fourth at the last World Cup and fifth at last summer’s European Championships.

Ahead of Tokyo, Kerry will work alongside a new assistant coach after Russell Garcia, who played at the 1988 Games in Seoul, opted to leave his role and return to club hockey in Germany after honouring his contract with Great Britain Hockey until 2020.

Kerry with the Team GB Women's Hockey team after winning the coach award in November 2016. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)
Kerry with the Team GB Women's Hockey team after winning the coach award in November 2016. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

However, Kerry will have a full squad at his disposal during the next 12 months.

Several top GB stars were set to play in hockey hotbeds such as Holland and Belgium next season after signing contracts. But following the Olympics postponement, it means that GB players will stay put in England with a full-time central programme in place at Bisham Abbey. It is not known yet how much contact players will have with their English clubs during the season as a staged roadmap has yet to be established for the 2019/20 domestic season.

Adam Dixon will continue as GB men’s captain until the Tokyo Games after revealing he was set to retire from international hockey in August.

While GB women came away with gold in Rio, the men finished a lowly ninth. A post-Games review marked the departure of several key figures from the central programme.

This included talisman Ashley Jackson, who subsequently played both elite ice hockey and club hockey before a stint in the Dutch field hockey leagues during a three-year break from the international game. However, Great Britain’s all-time leading scorer returned to the central programme last year and will now aim to play at a fourth Olympic Games.

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