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Robert Youngblood has resigned as Head Coach of NBL Division 1 league winners Essex Leopards, but will not be heading to the London Lions according to a club statement.
The 46-year-old is set to return to the US to spend more time with his family, seemingly ending rumours of Youngblood taking over from Vince Macaulay in the BBL.
In a statement, Leopards said that Youngblood ‘had been linked with several jobs both in the BBL and with Leopards’ Division One rivals before making the decision not to coach at senior level in the 2015-16 season’.
Having been a former player with the Leopards, Youngblood took over as player-coach in the 2012-13 season, and led the club to consecutive Final Fours appearances three years running.
Youngblood helped the club to two titles during his spell with a National Trophy success in 2013 followed by their recent league victory.
“I’m going to have to say no to coaching Leopards with a heavy heart” said Youngblood. “I’d like to thank everyone for the great memories.”
Leopards’ general manager Dave Ryan added his disappointment: “Obviously we’re disappointed that Robert can’t continue as coach, but we fully understand why he feels he can’t commit for the season and respect his decision.
“We’d like to thank Robert for everything that he’s done for us over the last three years – it’s been a great time in the history of the club and no one’s who’s been involved would underestimate the massive part he’s played in it.
“He’s going to be a tough act to follow.”
The Leopards have begun their search for a replacement, targeting an experienced coach or senior player looking to make the transition onto the sidelines.
Image Credit: Paul Phillips
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