The coaches of the Indian men's and women's hockey teams, Graham Reid and Janneke Schopman, were chosen as the FIH Coaches of the Year for their respective divisions on Thursday. Reid has won prize twice in a row, whereas ex-India coach Sjoerd Marijne was the Women's Coach of the Year last year.
India has achieved numerous new highs under Australian Reid, including capturing its first Olympic medal (bronze) at the Tokyo Games in 2021, after a 41-year absence. India also took home a silver medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, making up for missing the previous competition in Australia.
India competed in the FIH Hockey Pro League for the first time in 2021–2022 and finished third overall, behind the Netherlands and Belgium, earning a well-deserved spot on the podium.
The most goals scored by a team in the Pro League's history—and not just this season—was 62, which Reid's squad managed to achieve.
Reid, who assumed the position in April 2019, also served as the head coach of the Indian men's hockey team, who this year won the inaugural FIH Hockey5s in Lausanne by going undefeated.
Following him in the online vote were the coaches of Belgium, Michel van den Heuvel, and the Netherlands, Jeroen Delmee, with 31.4 points each (20.2 points). Experts (40%), teams (20%), fans (20%), and media (20%) all submit ballots online.
"These awards are representative of how the team plays and not the individual and I think that's the environment I try to foster in the group. It's fantastic to receive the award but I think it's the whole team that has achieved it," Reid said in a release.
"The coaches of other teams are all world-class; they have their own way of doing things and to win amongst those coaches is a big honour. I know how difficult it is and this kind of leadership at the top is very lively, you try and make pretty tough decisions each day."
Schopman, on the other hand, received 38.2 votes, beating out Australia coach Katrina Powell (19.5) and Netherlands coach Jamilon Mulders (28.2) to win the coveted prize.
Schopman had the difficult job of repeating India's spectacular performance at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021, when they almost missed winning a bronze medal.
The Indian squad, led by Schopman, made their FIH Hockey Pro League debut in the 2021–22 campaign and achieved amazing success, including victories over eventual winners Argentina (in a shootout), Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain. The Indian side finished in third place.
The Indian team then won the bronze medal match in a shootout over New Zealand, placing them on the podium at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham for the first time in 16 years.
"It really does feel pretty amazing to win the award when you are up against some of the finest Coaches in the world. Again, the award is a recognition of what the players were able to execute on the field and I am happy the team is progressing well," the Dutchwoman said on her feat.