Three-time Olympian David Murdoch has been announced as British Curling’s national coach and in his new role will be instrumental in guiding the next generation of programme curlers at the start of this Olympiad towards Beijing in 2022.
Murdoch, who hails from Lockerbie, turned his attention to full time coaching last year as consultant coach to the programme that had supported his extremely successful curling career, which saw him skip his team to silver at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, as well as win two world, three European and seven national titles before landing the prestigious national post.
“I feel very honoured and privileged to be given this fantastic opportunity with British Curling and I hope to use my experience as a former athlete and my coaching experience to further enhance the prospects of teams as the new Olympic cycle gets underway,” he said.
Murdoch boasts a strong coaching pedigree. His sister Nancy, who is currently a programme performance coach, was previously the Olympic women’s coach for Vancouver 2010, while their mother Marion is also a coach who is widely acknowledged for having developed Olympians Claire Hamilton and Anna Sloan. However, he credits Richard Harding at Greenacres Curling Club for instigating his coaching career, having given him his first break that has led him on this career path.
“I owe huge gratitude to Richard who gave me my first coaching role back in 2011 working part-time with the Greenacres members, which was obviously my first step on the coaching ladder,” said Murdoch.
“It was an opportunity that enabled me to gain valuable coaching experience over the years. Combined with my curling career, that has afforded me the chance to work with many coaches, performance directors and support staff and specialists from the Sportscotland Institute of Sport, as well as team coaches. I feel that I have learned something from every one of them, on how to coach others effectively and deal with the pressure so that you are doing the job to the very best of your ability, to get the very best out of medal prospects.
“I will be able to harness that during what is an exciting time for the programme. We have been very fortunate to receive significant funding and along with the new National Curling Academy (NCA), this is a great chance to ensure our athletes are fully prepared in the best way they can be, to take on the world’s elite. “
The NCA is a project that Murdoch became personally involved in when it looked like the plans may not come to fruition, in the full knowledge that he would not be one of the beneficiaries of the facility as a player.
He added: “I feel very passionate about the NCA, as it was something that had been missing in my career development and I knew that other nations were investing heavily in their curling programmes and in full time facilities and we were in danger of being left behind,” he pointed out.
Unbeknown to him, the facility would eventually become his workplace in Stirling, the town which Murdoch made his home almost a decade ago.
“It is a great facility and it was the only way to provide a high performance training environment where the conditions that athletes experience on Tour, at the big events, can be replicated,” he said.
Utilising his credentials and making full use of the new dedicated curling facility, Murdoch is keen to make his mark in ensuring the athletes he will work with excel at the right time at the biggest events.
“This is a wonderful opportunity right at the start of an Olympic cycle to help make our athletes thrive and train more effectively to achieve more than ever before, so that when they leave the NCA to go out and compete in the fast changing, professional world of elite curling, collectively we know we have done the right things every day in order to get the best results and ultimately medals. It is great to be able to help influence those decisions and help enhance those prospects,” he said.
Murdoch starts his new role on September 1 and British Curling performance director Graeme Thompson is delighted with the appointment, saying: “David brings a wealth of experience both on and off the ice to what is a hugely important role. As an instantly recognised figure throughout the sport and widely respected in the game, he is best placed to help guide our Olympic programme as we aim to deliver medals at Beijing and beyond.”