Netball: Karen Atkinson appointed head coach of Loughborough Lightning
Last Updated: 19/08/14 12:56pm
Former Loughborough Lightning player Karen Atkinson has been appointed as the netball Superleague club’s new head coach.
Former England international Atkinson, who was awarded an MBE in May for her services to netball, was previously head coach at Hertfordshire Mavericks, whom she guided to a third-place finish in the 2014 season.
After leaving the Mavericks earlier this summer, the 36-year-old takes up a post with her old club, who failed to record a win last season.
It feels fitting to come back to Loughborough where I started my Superleague career and I am excited about the new challenges it will bring.
Looking forward to the challenge ahead, Atkinson said: “I am extremely grateful to have spent the last eight years playing and coaching at Hertfordshire Mavericks, the opportunities it has given me and the fantastic people I have been able to work with.
“However, it feels fitting to come back to Loughborough where I started my Superleague career and I am excited about the new challenges it will bring.”
Atkinson, who will take up her new post at the end of August, has strong links to Loughborough after graduating from the university in 2000 with a degree and masters in PE and Sports Science.
She also played for Loughborough Lightning at the start of the netball Superleague from 2006 before moving to Mavericks, where she coached after retiring from playing.
While a student at Loughborough, Atkinson received her first senior England team call-up in 1997 and an illustrious international career followed in which she represented her country in 122 matches, making her the second most capped player in English history.
She won three Commonwealth Games bronze medals in 1998, 2006 and 2010 and two World Championship bronze medals in 1999 and 2011.
At the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, Atkinson was the Athlete Representative for Team England and technical coach to the England netball squad.
Peter Keen, Director of Sport Advancement and Strategy at Loughborough University, said: “Karen is a highly respected figure within sport.
“I am confident that she will greatly enhance our netball programme and build a competitive squad in readiness for the new Superleague season.”