London basketball coach Chris Facey insists scooping two top national prizes at a star-studded awards ceremony in Glasgow only makes him more determined to push on with bringing more success to the sport.
Facey, a head coach at Newham All Star Sports Academy, based in East London was named the Gillette Community Coach of the Year and also the runner-up in the overall Coach of the Year award at the UK Coaching Awards, supported by Gillette.
It caps off a remarkable journey for the 40-year-old who saw his own dreams of forging a career in basketball dashed aged 22 when he broke both his legs in a freak accident while attempting to pursue a professional career in America.
Confined to a wheelchair before eventually learning to walk again, Facey’s life took a turn for the better when he met NASSA founder Natasha Hart in 2003, who encouraged him to further his basketball qualifications.
On the court, he has led the boys under-13s side to a third successive National League title this year, while off it, he acts as a father figure, guiding NASSA’s young people away from knife crime and gang culture and encouraging them to be good citizens as well as good basketball players.
And despite missing out on the Coach of the Year prize to Gary Street, head coach of the England Women Rugby’s World-Cup winning team, Facey insists there was still much to be proud of at Glasgow City Chambers.
“I never settle for second but I’m not greedy about it – I’m very satisfied and very pleased with my runners-up spot for the overall award,” Facey said. “Achieving this coach of the year award and working hard towards it makes me want to do it again and again and again.
“It’s now become a little bit more than just winning trophies though. My experience of working with young people has got a bit more, the parents are behind us supporting us and it makes me stronger and makes me want to work harder and want to win more of this as well.
“If you’re into something as a leader and a teacher, you are a parent as much as a coach. I speak to my colleagues about when a parent hands responsibility of a child over to you, you become like a parent.
“You’ve got to know how he’s doing in his academics because when he fails that side it doesn’t benefit you or the sport. If he can dominate outside of the sport then he’s a winner at the sport.”
The UK Coaching Awards, supported by Gillette, celebrate outstanding successes and achievements of some of the UK’s top coaches, like Facey, from a variety of different standards and sporting disciplines.
And Facey, who oversees all of the work done by each of NASSA’s coaches, guiding them to successes throughout Basketball England National League age group teams, encouraged others to enjoy the benefits of being a coach.
“I hope I will pass on the experience to people and pave the way to help young boys or girls to take the name of any sports forward and onto another level,” he added.
“I would say to people looking to get into coaching to come on down and see what I do. I would be delighted to share my thoughts with you – saying it to someone is a different thing to looking at what I do.”
Chris Facey was speaking at the UK Coaching Awards, supported by Gillette.
Sportsbeat’s Pippa Field contributed to this report.