As 2017 Male Coach of the Year – an honour he shared with the Netherlands Max Caldas – Shane McLeod had enjoyed a good 12 months with his team in 2017. But not even he could have envisaged just how successful his team would become a year later.
Mcleod led the Belgium Red Lions to a gold medal at the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup and, in doing so, moved them to the top of the FIH Hero World Rankings, leapfrogging perennial top-ranked Australia and the 2016 Olympic champions Argentina in the process.
McLeod began his international coaching career with the New Zealand men’s team, leading them to the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. The move to Belgium saw him work with several club sides and the women’s U21 team before he took up an appointment with the Red Lions in 2015.
“I am blessed to work with an amazing group of athletes that are inspiring the next generations. I thank them for their ambition and commitment to excellence.”
- Shane McLeod
Modest, understated and meticulous in planning, McLeod now has a new challenge – to maintain top spot and to keep one step ahead of the chasing pack. With two wins and two draws from four games, Belgium currently sit top of the FIH Pro League table: so far, the coach is matching that challenge.
On receiving the award, McLeod said: “It is a great honour to receive such an award. It is recognition of the work of many people and one that I will gladly share with my excellent coaching staff and players.
“The World Cup win has brought the spotlight onto hockey in Belgium and I am very proud to be involved with the way the hockey is growing in this country.
“With so many talented coaches in world hockey today it is a real privilege to receive this award. It is also special to see some of the greats that have received this honour in the past.
“Lastly, I am blessed to work with an amazing group of athletes that are inspiring the next generations. I thank them for their ambition and commitment to excellence.”