James Ellis, Deputy Director for Sport, is closely involved with the University of Warwick’s role as an official Football Training Venue for the Olympic Games. James says, "We are the busiest football training venue out of all the venues around the UK – all of the teams who will be playing their competitive games at the City of Coventry stadium will be doing their preparations here."
His main involvement has been to project manage the delivery of the contract with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) over the last 18 months. "Although it’s been a challenge," he said, "it’s been hugely rewarding gaining the support and buy in from many across the University in order to deliver the best results that we can. The teams in Security, Estates, Business Communications, Finance, Health & Safety, Legal, Deputy Registrar’s Office and of course staff in Physical Education and Sport deserve special thanks for their efforts to build relationships, share ideas and find best practice solutions on behalf of the University."
This isn’t the first time James has been involved in world sport, and he has an appreciation of the size and scale of London 2012 and the impact it will have on people’s lives. "I was lucky enough to be involved in the second largest multi sport event in the world, the World University Games in Belgrade 2009 (Assistant Coach, GB Mens Football) and Shenzhen 2011 (Head Coach, GB Men’s Football). I was the first Coach to get to the World University Games Football Final with a GB team. We played Japan in front of 30,000 plus people but just weren’t quite good enough and lost the match 2-0. However, we made a strong relationship with the Japanese and I am looking forward to seeing some of them in Coventry as part of Japan’s Olympic Football Team…I am hoping they do well!"
James is looking forward to "the most wonderful diverse and dynamic competition that we will ever see... and most importantly seeing those who have worked all their lives for their moment get the chance in these Games."
He’s also looking forward to seeing many friends from his studies who are involved in the Games. "I have very close friends on the staff in athletics, hockey, football, swimming, water polo, volleyball and badminton. In some of these sports I have friends competing as well, so I will be glued to the TV!"
Warwick’s sports facilities
James uses the swimming pool every day, but his real passion is football. He says, "I feel it is important that we give something back to our community and help them develop as good human beings and ultimately ambassadors for the University. Outside my day job I also coach the Mens Football team here at Warwick. It gives me a chance to pass on knowledge and help them find their way in using football / sport as an education tool for life skills and leadership. For the last 2 years we have been training at 7am on Mondays on the Tarkett pitch at Westwood. Despite the early start the team have really bought it to it, which has got them results on the pitch."
Enthusiasm for sport clearly motivates James. "As Deputy Director of Sport I get the chance to make the most of the opportunities to develop sport at Warwick. I feel lucky that I am able to ‘add to people’s lives’ in my day job, and it is achievable through sport. Warwick is a great place with great people!"