After an unprecedented 17 years on the international stage, Danny Kerry – the most successful coach in the history of hockey in Great Britain - has today announced his decision to step down from his role as head coach of the men’s programme.
Having been part of the England and Great Britain international setup since 2005, Danny has decided that the time is now right for him to step away, in the best interests of both the men’s programme and himself. While extremely saddened to see him go, England and Great Britain Hockey respect his decision and recognise his immense contribution.
Danny’s achievements make him the most successful hockey coach in British history. As coach of the women’s teams for more than a decade across two spells, he helped them achieve a first ever Olympic gold at Rio 2016, having also taken bronze in London four years earlier.
In addition, Danny led England’s women to 2015 EuroHockey Championship gold in London among a host of other World, European and Commonwealth medals. Having also spent a period as Performance Director, in 2017 Danny was rightly awarded an MBE for services to hockey. His incredible commitment to the cause can be exemplified by the manner in which he came back from a heart attack that year to once again lead the women’s programme.
Having been head coach of the men’s teams since September 2018, he leaves a talented group of players on an upwards trajectory, after finishing fifth at the Tokyo Olympics and climbing to sixth in the FIH world rankings. The squad are well-placed as they look towards the FIH Hockey Pro League, Commonwealth Games, World Cup and Paris 2024. He leaves both England and Great Britain teams well-positioned to excel in the future, having supported a significant number of young players during his tenure.
Danny said: “Although this is not a decision I intended to take looking to this Olympic cycle, it is the right one for both the team and myself. There is no doubting the talent that lies within the individuals of the men’s squad, and the good news is that there is a young crop also set to emerge and fill positions within the side. The capacity to win big is there and I truly wish them well for the future. I am deeply saddened I won’t be part of that future, but such is life.
“I have given everything over the last 17 years, perhaps at times too much, but I would not swap the life experiences I have had for anything. I have had the privilege of working alongside and with truly brilliant people, at some of the most amazing moments in the history of our sport. The breakthrough medals at the Rosario World Cup in 2010 and at the London Olympic Games in 2012 are perhaps the moments that come to mind first, along with the breakthrough gold at a home European Championships.
"These moments were when athletes and staff took the necessary leaps of faith required to truly win big. Those trailblazers did the hardest of incredibly hard yards upon which Olympic Gold in 2016 was won and on which the current performance programme is based. I believe the level, sophistication, and nature of support the current generation receive is, in a myriad of facets, world-leading. To those trailblazers and all those who have subsequently taken up the baton with the same vigour, I have the utmost respect. It has been a privilege to serve as coach.”
Great Britain Hockey’s Performance Director Ed Barney commented: “First and foremost I want to place on record the sincerest of personal and professional thanks to Danny. The effort, commitment, choices, sacrifices and passion that he has given to England and Great Britain Hockey is second to none. He has the most phenomenal super-strengths from which players, teams, staff and the sport itself have reaped huge rewards.
“Danny’s contribution to hockey cannot be understated: so much of the success over the past 17 years – international medals, the professionalisation of our international programme, a step-change in the visibility of our sport – has been directly related to a very special man. He leaves a legacy in so many different ways from which there can be so much pride and hopefully contentment for him personally.
“It is only right to also thank Danny’s family who have played a huge role over the years - endless trips for him across many continents, often for long periods, where I’ve no doubt Lisa, Anna and Orla have missed their husband and dad.
“The Tokyo Olympic cycle was a testing period for many of us in performance sport. I know how much time and energy he has given to this decision and, following some more work with the squad, he feels the time is right to step away to new ventures. He has given so much to the sport and is rightly deserving of a well-earned breather. We wish him the very best and hope to continue to have a close connection together over the coming years.”
Great Britain Hockey President Sheila Morrow added: “It is no exaggeration to say that Danny has created some of the most magical moments our sport has seen in the modern era. Anyone who watched the Rio women’s final knows exactly where they were when that final shootout went in, and that match will never be forgotten. But Danny’s legacy is so much more than just medals; he is a truly pioneering coach with the ability to lead a group of players – both women and men – and leave behind a positive influence on so many people who worked with him. He steps away as an absolute giant of the game and I wish him and his family the very best for the future - you have earned everything that comes your way.”
David Ames, the vice-captain of England and Great Britain’s men, said: “It has been a pleasure to work with Danny over the last three years. Guiding us to a fourth-place finish at the World Cup in Bhubaneswar after only a few months in charge proves why he’s regarded as one of the best in the world. His attention to detail, level of planning and tactical knowledge of the game demonstrates why he’s been able to sustain long term success over his coaching career with Great Britain Hockey. I wish him great success in his next journey and thank him for all his efforts and commitment to our men’s programme.”
Alex Danson-Bennett, former women’s captain and double Olympic medallist said: “Having been coached by Danny since 2005 when he joined the national team, I would like to personally thank him for all his years of dedication and service to our programmes. Our results tell the best story - from sixth at the Beijing Olympics to a bronze medal in London and then Olympic gold. Danny is one of if not the leading tacticians in the world and made hockey a sport that everyone talks about.
“He was integral in taking us to a professional level when we became full-time athletes in 2009, he gave us ownership over our programme and allowed us to foster an environment which ultimately led to our success. I would like to wish him every happiness in his next venture and thank him for his extraordinary contribution. I will always enormously value all he brought to us, the memories we all made, the moments we created and that feeling of team togetherness we will always share.”
England and Great Britain Hockey would like to again place on record its gratitude and respect to Danny for his immense contribution. Assistant coach Zak Jones will now lead the squads on an interim basis. The recruitment process for a permanent head coach will begin shortly.