England Athletics is greatly saddened by the death of Dave Sunderland. As well as working as a National Coach Mentor for England Athletics Dave played a huge role in the sport as a coach, mentor, author and good friend to many people. His loss will be greatly felt.
Dave’s successes as a coach were many – he coached Lynsey Sharp to the European 800 metre title in 2012, in 1977 another of his athletes, Jane Colebrook, won the European Indoor title in a time that equalled the World Indoor Record. He coached many international athletes including Paul Davis Hale and Spencer Duval.
Dave was deeply involved in both club and schools athletics. He played an integral role with Cannock and Stafford and served as team manager for the Staffordshire Schools athletics team.
Dave was heavily involved in the work of the BMC, including production of its publication – BMC News. In 2013 he was awarded the BMC Outstanding Services to Coaching Lifetime Award. He authored High Performance Long Distance Running and High Performance Middle Distance Running which have brought great benefit to many coaches and athletes. Dave worked to help many coaches over many years and it was this expertise, enthusiasm and dedication that he brought to his role as a National Coach Mentor with England Athletics.
As well as his athletics credentials Dave’s humour, kindness and honesty had an impact on all who knew him.
England Athletics Chief Executive Chris Jones said, “Dave was loved and respected by many people within and outside of England Athletics and was at the forefront of shaping our acclaimed national and local coach development programmes from conception. He was a passionate advocate for the power of mentoring and of coach development. One particular illustration of such emotion and passion that will always stay in my mind is from a few years back when he presented as part of our first National Coach Development weekend conference. He cared a huge amount about the sport, his colleagues and what we were striving to achieve in the area of coach development.
“As a coach he enjoyed magnificent success at both a domestic and international level and the world of middle distance and endurance coaching will be far poorer for his passing. Despite his significant success as a coach, educator and author within the sport of athletics, he never forgot his roots and played an active role in schools athletics, particularly in his home county of Staffordshire where he was heavily involved for many years in coordinating team management activities.
“On a personal level I shall miss his friendship, his humour and his counsel. He regularly offered his honest views and wisdom acquired through his years of experience, and he was quick to enquire how I was and how my family was. He cared a great deal about his peers and those around him and this was perhaps understandable given his role within the sport.
“Our deepest sympathies are with his family and all his friends at this time.”
Dave passed away on Sunday 16 February 2014.