SQUASH - Townsend continues to transform Warwick's squash fortunes three decades on - The Coventry Observer

SQUASH - Townsend continues to transform Warwick's squash fortunes three decades on

Coventry Editorial 16th May, 2023   0

STEVE Townsend, a former England Universities squash captain in his playing days, has helped transform the University of Warwick’s fortunes in the sport in a coaching capacity.

Townsend arrived at Warwick as a first year undergraduate Management student in 1991 and is now Head Squash Coach some 32 years later.

And having been involved with the sport for more than three decades, Townsend has now guided Warwick to a fourth-place finish in the 2022/23 BUCS standings.

Townsend said: “Towards the end of my time as a student, I started coaching the team, before pursuing a coaching career following graduation.

“I’d done this, along with coaching sessions for different levels of staff and student on an ad hoc basis until 2018.

“When the University decided to invest in sport, a full-time role coaching and developing the squash teams became available.

“Fortunately, I was successful, and now we’re going from strength to strength. I’ve now been here for over three decades and haven’t looked back – I love being a part of Team Warwick.”

Townsend represented Warwick’s men’s first team and captained England during his time at university whilst he was also named sportsman of the year in 1997.

Since turning his attention to coaching, Townsend has helped Warwick rise to the premier divisions of university sport whilst making the university the go-to institution for aspiring young squash professionals.

And evidence of this can be seen in the form of England captain and world number eight Sarah-Jane Perry who enrolled to study Engineering at Warwick from 2008 and last year won a bronze and silver medal in squash at the Commonwealth Games.

The university’s Sports and Wellness Hub is the home of Warwick Squash which has six glass backed squash courts and includes a 230-station gym, four fitness spaces and a 25m swimming pool.

Townsend added: “I absolutely loved my time playing squash for the University and am delighted to be part of the journey of the players coming through now.

“During my time coaching full-time here at the Hub, we’ve really put a lot of time and investment into racquet sports.

“More often than not, in big sports centres, squash courts are hidden out of sight but here they have pride of place right by the entrance, which has really helped elevate interest.

“Our teams are full of junior internationals, and students now come here not just for a Warwick degree, but to pursue a dual career – sporting and academic.

“The rise in the stature and results of our teams is largely due to the birth of the Team Warwick Performance programme, which provides our high performing players competing for their county or country with an opportunity to obtain individual scholarships, helping them maintain elite level sporting careers alongside academic study.

“It’s incredibly rewarding to be able to support students to excel at something they love. For me, sport was always a great outlet and a break from the stress of studying.

“It’s wonderful to know I’m helping others find that balance, which can be tricky to maintain in the hustle and bustle of university life.

“It really is an honour to be able to work with these players at this wonderful facility. Squash is a fantastic sport and I’d strongly encourage everyone to give it a go.”

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