Leeds Beckett student celebrates Wembley success
Paul Heckingbottom, who is studying MSc Sport Coaching, led the Tykes into the Football League Championship with a 3-1 win over Millwall in the League 1 play-off final on Sunday.
That followed the club’s 3-2 win over Oxford United in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final back in April.
Paul, who has been caretaker manager of the club since February, is now being tipped to take over on a permanent basis.
The 38-year-old also graduated from the BSc (Hons) Sports Coaching degree in 2013 which he said had helped him develop the delivery of his key coaching messages.
“I initially enrolled on the BSc (Hons) Sports Coaching Degree, to boost my CV in addition to my FA Coaching badges and a professional playing career,” Paul said.
“However, it soon became clear that the course would help me in many more ways than just gaining the qualification.
“This included unpicking the knowledge that I had gained throughout my time in professional football and, perhaps more importantly, allowed me to become more adept with ways in which to deliver this information.
“The course content and assessments, combined with the University resources, helped me to significantly broaden my knowledge base within Sports Coaching. This knowledge helps me in my current role, and beyond, as it helps me to pull together the various support departments of the football club to work towards a common coaching goal.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the learning experience and was fully supported from the lecturing team, so much so that I enrolled on the MSc Sports Coaching course.”
Following the win over Millwall which secured promotion, Paul’s managerial record since taking over at Barnsley in February stands at 14 wins, five draws and three losses from 22 games – a win ratio of 63.6%.
Barnsley owner Patrick Cryne said Paul’s academic background had contributed to the club’s on-field success.
He told the Yorkshire Post: “Paul has a blend of all the things you would want a manager to have. He was a tenacious footballer in his own right and knew how to tough it out on the pitch.
“But he’s also a very thoughtful and well-qualified coach with a lot of academic elements in his personality and is very thoughtful.”
Bob Muir, Senior Lecturer and Course Leader for MSc Sport Coaching at Leeds Beckett, added: “We are really delighted to see the success that Paul has been a part of at Barnsley FC in recent months.
“It’s fantastic to see someone with Paul’s passion, temperament and general attitude towards learning and professional development given the opportunity to orchestrate a first team environment in professional football.
“Paul is clearly thriving in this role and the performances on the pitch coupled with the stories in the media suggest that Paul is creating an environment within which the players are flourishing.
“Like many others on our BSc and MSc sport coaching programmes, Paul demonstrates a genuine interest in helping other people fulfil their potential.
“This promotes a willingness to explore different concepts and ideas from our programmes in order to make sense of and develop their coaching practice.”