READING Blue Coat School has announced Allan French – previously women’s head coach at Oxford Brookes University since 2012 and coach of this summer’s GB Under 23 World Championship’s Women’s Eight – is to take over as head of rowing from September.

He will be joined by Tim Liversage, who is currently Lead J15 Coach and Boatman at Hampton School, and a team manager for England Rowing, where he has led the junior men’s sweep group since 2015.

French’s development of the Oxford Brookes women’s program saw them attain GB High Performance Programme status and, under his guidance, have developed into the strongest squad to date, winning a number of events including senior and academic eights at Henley Women’s Regatta, and have become British and European University champions.

At this year’s Henley Women’s Regatta, 23 Oxford Brookes athletes raced on finals day across a number of disciplines and events, with one of the eights – coxed by Blue Coat alumna Aisling Humphries-Griffiths – grabbing victory in the academic eights race for the first time in club history.

French has guided a number of athletes to international representation and, in the summer of 2016, he coached the GB Women’s Four to a bronze medal at the FISU World University Championships, and took the U23 lightweight women’s quad to fifth place at the 2017 U23 World Championships.

He said: “I am extremely excited to be appointed as head of rowing at such a fantastic school and I look forward to working with the pupils, parents and staff in guiding the boat club forward.

“Rowing at Reading Blue Coat provides a great opportunity to be involved in a brilliant sport and, in my new role, I want to support and encourage pupils to gain everything they can from their rowing, and to enjoy participating and competing at all levels. I feel in Tim we have found someone who will perfectly suit the role, and who will add a lot to the team we have at Blue Coat this coming year.”

Blue Coat’s headmaster, Jesse Elzinga is “delighted” about the new team, stating: “We are very fortunate indeed to have had the opportunity to appoint Allan, who has been part of the incredibly successful outfit at Oxford Brookes for a number of years.

“He has the experience, vision and resolve to drive the Blue Coat Boat Club forward.”

French and Liversage take over from Rob Edmondson, who leaves to coach at Eton College, and Alasdair Stuart, who heads to Windsor Boys’ School.