Cumbernauld Athletic Club coach Stephen Wallace wins top Scottish Athletics award

Stephen (right) is congratulated by Scottish Athletics chief executive Mark Munro (pic by Bobby Gavin)
Stephen (right) is congratulated by Scottish Athletics chief executive Mark Munro (pic by Bobby Gavin)

Cumbernauld AAC coach and administrator Stephen Wallace has been named Scottish Athletics Volunteer of the Year.

Stephen picked up the prize at the governing body’s awards night at the Hilton Hotel in Glasgow.

And he admitted afterwards that he hadn’t even expected to be considered for the award, let alone actually win it.

Stephen, who comes from Cumbernauld, said: “I was surprised getting nominated and equally surprised to win it because I knew the other nominees and what they have contributed to athletics.

“I was a bit speechless at the ceremony when I got called out, but it was nice.

“But we’ve got 18 coaches at Cumbernauld now and from a voluntary perspective, as much as I was highlighted on the night it’s as much a shared award for everybody who gives up their time at the club.

“I got nominated by Lesley Roy, the president of Scottish Athletics, which probably made it a bit more special because it wasn’t somebody from the club who nominated me.

“I was fortunate enough to be one of the Scotland team coaches for the Junior Celtic Internationals and can only think when I worked with Lesley during that match that she may have seen something to put me forward.

“It’s a community-based club first and foremost. We had our awards night last week and the feedback from parents was that there’s just a great atmosphere within the club as being a community-based, rather than one of the biggest in Scotland with a bit more competition.

“Hopefully with the new track in particular we’ll get a good base to build up the support.”

Stephen’s award citation read: “Like so many volunteers, Stephen has multiple ‘hats’ but he is a bit unique in that he splits his time between administration and coaching as well as holding down a demanding full-time job and family duties.

“He is club secretary at Cumbernauld AAC, a role which, as all secretaries will appreciate, takes up a lot of time.

“But he can also be found coaching on club nights and organising the groups at the start of each evening.

“As a sprints coach, he has coached many athletes including Lewis Brown who has reached GB Junior selection at 400m.

“Locally Stephen has been key to establishing strategically important partnerships for the club with the local authority, Active Schools and Greenfaulds High School. These partnerships in the last 12 months have led to the club working with Active Schools to deliver athletics competition throughout Cumbernauld.

“Not only does Stephen co-ordinate training and competition for athletes in Cumbernauld AAC but he also co-ordinates and manages the composite team of Cumbernauld, Airdrie and Motherwell AC in the YDL where the U17 team qualified for the 2018 Scottish Challenge Final.

“Stephen has a great attitude; he is diligent and respectful to all and has an outstanding commitment to not only his club but to the sport as a whole.

“This was demonstrated when he was selected by scottishathletics to be a team coach at the Celtic Games held at Grangemouth in August 2018.

“Stephen was honoured to have been selected for this role but he had already booked his family holiday to Madeira which clashed with the date.

“He considered the logistical challenge and accepted the coaching role arranging at his own expense a flight back to Manchester then a train to Stirling where he met up with the team on the night prior to the competition.

“He then successfully carried out all his coaching duties (the team won all seven trophies) before joining the team for the awards dinner and presentation and travelling back to Madeira to re-join his family for the remainder of his holiday.”