Oaklands Wolves will be led by a new dynamic coaching team for the 2021-22 season as Lauren Milligan will continue her rise in coaching by becoming the new Wolves Head Coach.
Lauren is currently part of the BE Leadership & Performance Program; a very successful endeavour by the governing body to support the development of influential and upcoming female coaches. Having previously been a head coach in the Wolves junior program, Lauren makes the jump to senior coach for the first time in her coaching career, whilst continuing to be a key part of the senior playing group for the Wolves.
Lauren will amalgamate her new appointment with her ongoing role as the head coach of Oaklands College’s WEABL team, as Oaklands look to shape an improved pathway for the country’s elite junior talent.
Albert Ziwa will compliment Lauren as the WBBL Associate Head Coach for the upcoming season. The Oaklands Academy and junior Wolves coach will step up after impressing during his various roles at the Academy. Albert has been on the rise through his positions in the program including EABL lead coach, U16 head coach, performance analyst and most recently WBBL assistant coach. Albert also has experience in the regional program having been part of East Aspire as well as running his own community coaching business.
The team will as ever be supported by departing Head Coach Lee Ryan, who’s influence over the team will continue to be felt as he remains in post as Head of Performance Basketball at Oaklands College.
“The appointments of Lauren and Albert are timely and perfect for our progression as a program,” said Ryan. “They are embedded in the family at Oaklands, so share the same values and aspirations, but come in with fresh ideas and a hunger to elevate what is already a strong platform for junior athletes.
“We have invested heavily in raising the standard across the entire Oaklands pathway; from community to club, academy and professional teams. This year will give us the chance to re-shape the direction for player development in England. To truly maximise the opportunity for aspiring National Teams players you have to stretch them at the highest level possible, whilst supporting them with every resource available.
“There will be complete synergy between the academy and professional team, creating the first of its kind in the country. As a result, all female athletes will benefit from the elite full time program, with no compromises in academics or player well-being. The vision is complete alignment, one squad, one direction, with a single goal of creating the best opportunity for U19 players in the professional game.”
The new coaching pair will look to take the reins as the college double down on their identity as a centre of sporting excellence in the UK, something Lauren says they are equally excited about.
“I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to coach and lead the WBBL team into the new season,” said the new play-caller. “This opportunity allows me to continue my journey in coaching whilst still being able to play, something I’m not ready to give up just yet.
“It will be a new experience to be a player/coach, but with the support of everyone at Oaklands I’m ready for the challenge. I’m excited to work alongside Albert and together provide a platform for players to showcase their talents at the highest playing level in the UK.”
Albert added, “I’m honoured to be appointed as the Associate Head Coach for the WBBL. My work assisting Lee last season and being the performance analyst within the academy has been an excellent learning experience, something I want to bring to my new role in the WBBL. I am excited about the next challenge, working with Lauren and the continued opportunity to keep developing as a coach along the way.”