Coach Youngblood is returning for another season at Hemel Storm

Hemel Storm head coach Robert Youngblood, kneeling, will be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at Hemel's Grovehill baseball diamond this Saturday for a fun, children's baseball festival.
Hemel Storm head coach Robert Youngblood, kneeling, will be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at Hemel's Grovehill baseball diamond this Saturday for a fun, children's baseball festival.

Hemel Storm have announced that head coach Robert Youngblood will be returning for the upcoming 2018/19 campaign.

In a statement released by Storm on Saturday, the club said it was delighted with the news.

In his debut season for 2017/18, Youngblood led the team to victory in the National Cup final over Manchester in January and the side also made the final of the post-season National Championship playoffs, just missing out against Worthing in April.

The cup final victory was Storm’s first major silverware for six years.

In a reshuffle at the club, Steve Darlow has been appointed head of the basketball programme to oversee and drive its development, former international coach Dave Titmuss will work closely with Youngblood as associate head coach, and the team will be completed by performance analyst Dane Frost, who returns for his fourth season with Storm.

Club chairman Tony Humphrey said: “We are very fortunate to have such unique depth and experience to manage our basketball and coaching programme for next season.

“We welcome coach Steve Darlow to the management team to lead our overall basketball programme.

“Steve is a Storm legend who cares deeply about our club.

“We believe that coach Titmuss’s experience is the perfect complement to coach Robert Youngblood, who himself led us to an unforgettable season last time around.

“I know our fans will be delighted that we have secured Robert’s services for another term.

“We should all be very excited about the season ahead”.

Darlow added: “Coach Youngblood’s return is a fantastic opportunity to capitalise on the success and hard work of last season.

“Underlining everything is his desire and passion to get the wins and lead one of the most competitive teams in the country”.

Coach Youngblood is a veteran former player in Britain and with European teams.

He finished his career in the UK in the top 10 of four statistical categories – games played, points, blocks and rebounds.

He said: “Storm is a first-class organisation and has the best fans, volunteers and sponsors in the country; we want to give them all plenty to cheer about next season.”

Youngblood is keen to build on the competitive progress made last term and added: “We got through to two national finals but after we won the National Cup we were inconsistent in the league so we want to improve on that aspect and bring more silverware to the town.

“We’ve taken a long, hard look at our roster and are keen to have an entertaining but competitive squad, so wherever necessary we’ll be recruiting to strengthen the team.

“We want to be a championship-calibre club every season.”

Storm are set to announce player signings nearer to the start of the season, which will open with a friendly at Hemel Leisure Centre against USA-Select, the American touring team, on September 8.