Youngblood leaves Big Cats

PUBLISHED: 18:00 02 June 2015

Robert Youngblood in action for Essex Leopards (pic: Paul Phillips).

Robert Youngblood in action for Essex Leopards (pic: Paul Phillips).


Essex Leopards looking for new coach after departure of successful Youngblood

Robert Youngblood has left Essex Leopards (pic: Paul Phillips).Robert Youngblood has left Essex Leopards (pic: Paul Phillips).

Essex Leopards have started the search for a new coach following the resignation of Robert Youngblood as head coach.

After three years at the helm with the Big Cats, Youngblood wants to spend more time with his family in the USA, making it impossible for him to concentrate on coaching in the top flight of the National Basketball League.

He led the team to the Division One title last season before they fell short of winning the play-offs and admitted it was a tough decision to make.

“I’m going to have to say no to coaching Leopards with a heavy heart” said Youngblood. “I’d like to thank everyone for the great memories.”

Leopards general manager Dave Ryan admitted that the Big Cats were sad to see Youngblood step down as play-caller.

“Obviously we’re disappointed that Robert can’t continue as coach, but we fully understand why he feels he can’t commit for the season and respect his decision,” said Ryan.

“We’d like to thank Robert for everything that he’s done for us over the last three years – it’s been a great time in the history of the club and no one’s who’s been involved would underestimate the massive part he’s played in it.

“He’s going to be a tough act to follow.”

Having played for the original Leopards for just over five years from their formation in 1994, Youngblood joined the new Big Cats as player-coach in 2012, leading the club to a National Trophy triumph and fourth place in Division in his first season.

The 2013/14 season saw Leopards finish as runners-up in the league before they clinched the title with a game to spare in March.

He had been linked with several jobs both in the BBL and with Leopards’ Division One rivals before making the decision not to coach at senior level in the 2015/16 season.

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