BE Awards 2023: John Sage Coach of the Year

Nick Drane is the winner of the 2023 John Sage Coach of the Year award.

Combining success at the top of WNBL Division One and U18s with an incredible contribution to the grassroots of the sport across Suffolk, Drane receives the prestigious coaching award after dedicating a significant portion of his career to work across Endeavour Ipswich Basketball.

A respected talent coach, Drane has also played an active part in the Aspire programme as well as the England Talent Pathway.

Unmatched commitment

National success has been a mainstay for Endeavour Ipswich Basketball in recent years, with the WNBL Division One regular season title heading to Suffolk in 2023/24, whilst the senior women also claimed January's WNBL National Cup.

His additional work across the club and Copleston High School shouldn't be overlooked despite that top-end success, helping Ipswich to provide grassroots basketball to over 800 young players across the county, with local kids going from playground, to primary school, club and further.

To that end, a number of Ipswich players have also sealed scholarships to some of the most renown universities across America in recent years, including Esther Little and Christabel Osarobo.

Drane is renowned for his player-centric approach, with those who play for him at any level praising his style. High player retention across the club isn't by accident as Ipswich have built a standout programme. 

Drane's impact isn't just felt on court though, says Adam Robinson.

"Alongside with the obvious competitive success of the Ipswich Basketball programme, Coach Drane is also instrumental in helping guide, coach and mentor the coaching staff at the club, sitting on the volunteer based committee and heading up the Playground2Pro community programme

"That not only ensures the Ipswich Basketball pathway begins effectively but also assists in helping the next generation of coaches begin their coaching journey." 

Basketball England's Talent Programme & Pathway Manager Sam Messam added: "Nick continues to contribute to the Talent Pathway in so many ways, including the Super Region Camps and a recent trip to Paris, where we attended the French Youth Team National Camp with a DiSE Select squad.

"The purpose of the trip was to take on some of the French Youth National team and stretch and challenge our first year DiSE athletes.

"From a talent perspective I am pleased to see Nick’s hard work and dedication to the game recognised."

Congrats go to Drane for the award, with London's Courtney Grant and East Midlands Emilie Fairnington also making it onto the national shortlist for 2023.

Drane's award continues the second week of 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.

Only tomorrow's Community Club of the Year award now remains before another cohort of selections will receive the prestigious Services to Basketball award on Sunday, 9 June 2024.