BE Awards 2023: Dave Fisher Children’s Coach of the Year

Ruth Eytle is the winner of the 2023 Dave Fisher Children’s Coach of the Year.

Through her junior basketball programme, Activities 4 U, Eytle has used basketball to provide support, guidance and development to countless young people across London.

Reinforcing life skills, such as communication and team work, her work also focusses on upskilling anyone that would like to get involved in the game, either through coaching or officiating courses, or through volunteering.

The popular coach took part in the 2023 London Marathon, raising £4,300 between the Young Lewisham Project and Activities 4 U, creating more opportunities for young people to get involved with education and sport along with purchasing basketball kits for the multiple teams that make up her junior basketball programme.

Creating a sense of community

In 2023, Eytle was nominated in the prestigious Sporting Equals awards for Coach of the Year, alongside Darren Moore (football) and Leon Baptiste (athletics), showcasing the level of her work in London and beyond.

She was also selected as the head coach of the U14 Girls England team for 2022/23, regularly playing her part in the talent pathway as part of the Aspire programme as well.

"Coach Ruth runs a ton of fantastic sessions for basketball players of all abilities in London, in addition to training sessions, camps and league games for kids, ladies and girls' only sessions," said Yves Cosentino, who nominated Eytle for the award.

"The sense of community is very strong and the sessions are vibrant with positive energy and support."

It was a similar sentiment to the one offered by Nathan Collins, another who put Eytle forward for recognition following her inspiring work.

"Building a community in a big city like London is hard at the best of times. Coach Ruth has worked tirelessly to carve one out right in the heart of the city and has managed to keep it together and grow it since the pandemic," said Collins.

"Bringing people together across nationalities, ethnicities, ages and fitness levels, all with a love of the game.

"The great thing about having a community programme like this is you see the women's game prosper through the highly successful All Stars. You see the kids in the youth programme move up through the ranks and the old people building their confidence at 6:30AM before work.

"It's a beautiful thing to behold, young and old, all with a love and a ready access to the game."

Congratulations go to Eytle as well as East's Danny Manning and East Midland's Karen Risk, who both made the shortlist for this year's award.

Eytle's award continues a two week period where national recipients of the 2023 Basketball England Awards are being announced.

Winners from across BE's ten regions were announced in March, with those recipients then shortlisted to narrow down the field for each national winner.

Eytle and others will be recognised for their achievements over the coming days, leading up to another cohort of selections receiving the prestigious "Services to Basketball" award on Sunday, 9 June 2024.