The University of Gloucestershire have appointed a former England captain to head up its netball and Severn Stars professional netball team.
Pamela Cookey, a two-time Commonwealth bronze medallist for England and seven-time Superleague winner, will become the university’s first Director of Netball from the beginning of October, working alongside newly appointed Severn Stars Head Coach Mo’onia Gerrard.
31-year-old Pamela, who was born in Birmingham and now lives in Bristol, won bronze with England in the 2006 and 2010 Commonwealth Games. She announced her retirement from international netball in November 2015 and will leave Superleague champions Surrey Storm to take up a full-time position at the University of Gloucestershire.
Pamela will combine her director role with a Senior Lecturer post in the School of Sport and Exercise, with a brief in the development of university sport.
The Severn Stars is one of a number of new franchises in the Vitality Netball Superleague, a joint project between the University of Gloucestershire and the University of Worcester that was announced by England Netball in June.
Pamela Cookey said: “I’m very excited to be joining the University of Gloucestershire in this new role. I hope to pull together my experiences from my own playing career and those from my roles in business and management to reach the high performance targets we are aiming for at the university. With this opportunity and the way we ended last season in regaining the title, I feel this is a good time to step down from playing Superleague. Netball is in my blood, being part of the new Severn Stars franchise is a fantastic opportunity to stay involved and one in which I really aim to make a significant impact off court.”
Dr Anita Navin, Head of School of Sport and Exercise at the University of Gloucestershire and co-founder of the Severn Stars, said: “I am thrilled that Pam is joining the staff team in October. Pam will bring an abundance of expertise from her career in both netball and business. Previously with Airbus and currently Wesport, the county sport partnership, where she was business manager and part of the senior management team. She will support our performance athletes across a range of sports at the University of Gloucestershire, offer support within our taught programmes and most of all drive the development of netball to another level with Stars coach Mo'onia Gerrard.
“Pam will lead technical shooting sessions as part of the work in the franchise and also connect fully in selling the Severn Stars vision to young participants in our partner schools and colleges. Our vision is ambitious, however we now have a superb ambassador and expert to turn this vision into reality.”
The news brings to an end a glittering career for Cookey who was equally at home as a goal shooter or goal attack and won 114 caps over 11 years for England.
Anita added: “I have always admired Pam's tenacity and commitment at international level and her intellectual capacity is second to none. This is a major appointment for us here at the University of Gloucestershire.
“Pam has an incredible presence and is an inspiration to any developing athlete or student. I wanted nothing more than to see retired athletes taking a lead in directing the next generation of super league clubs and this is a fantastic opportunity for the university to exceed all expectations in the delivery and support of sport at both community and performance level.
“Any netball player will know how much Pam has given to her sport in terms of sacrifices made and in leading an international team to success. She will be missed on the court as an athlete however not lost to the sport.”
Here more about what Pamela has to say about her new role and her plans in this YouTube video.
Follow Pamela on Twitter @PamelaCookey