Asha Francis new Bath head coach
She has played a prominent role in the past and present of Team Bath Netball and now Asha Francis is excited to be shaping the club’s future after being appointed as Head Coach
Francis – who won three Superleague titles with Team Bath as a player, including one as captain, and returned to the Haines Watts-sponsored Blue & Gold as Technical Coach this season – will take over the reins from the departing Anna Stembridge at the end of the 2022 campaign.
“I’m really excited for this opportunity,” said Francis. “Team Bath is really important to me and a big part of who I am, right back to first coming here as a University of Bath student, so I’m thrilled to be able to take this next step with a club that has given me so much.
“I’ve been involved with Team Bath for a long time, as a player and a coach, and now I’m looking forward to this new chapter. It’s not just 2023 that I’m planning towards, it’s shaping how the whole programme – Superleague, University, Athlete Development Centres, the recruitment pathway – will look over the coming years.”
Francis was part of Team Bath’s first-ever title-winning squad during the inaugural Superleague season in 2006. The influential goal-attack, who represented England and her native Singapore internationally, enjoyed more success in the Blue & Gold in 2010 and 2013, lifting the trophy as captain in the latter campaign.#
She gained her first coaching experience with Team Bath Toucans, part of the community netball club associated with the Superleague franchise, and the University of Bath student programme before moving to Singapore with her young family in 2018, during which time she enjoyed a spell as General Manager of the Sport Ready Netball Academy.
They returned to the UK in September 2021 when Francis took up the role of Team Bath Technical Coach, assisting Stembridge in the Superleague and also running Coach Education courses and workshops across the South West of England.
“I’ve definitely learnt a lot this year,” she said. “There have been some real challenges, some ups and downs, but we have worked through them and earned another Superleague semi-final place.
“I cannot wait to get started in my new role but we have a huge job to do before then, with our last game of the 2022 league season at Saracens Mavericks on Saturday and then heading into Finals Weekend.
“No matter what the outcome is, we really want to make sure we finish with performances that we can be proud of. If we can perform the way we know we can, I think we’ll come off the season happy.”
Alicia John – Franchise Manager of Team Bath, who are also supported by Rengen – said: “We are delighted that Asha will be stepping into the Head Coach role at the end of the season. She was the standout candidate, not just for her understanding of Team Bath’s legacy and culture but for the inspirational vision she has for the club’s future at all levels.
“Asha is already a key figure in our Blue & Gold history and we are excited to see what she will achieve in this new role.”
Francis will be putting her coaching and support team in place over the coming weeks.