2015 SPORTS AWARDS - COACH OF THE YEAR: Phantoms fans sure to honour super Slava

Phantoms coach Slava Koulikov.
Phantoms coach Slava Koulikov.
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Coach of the Year is the next category we preview for the 2015 Peterborough Telegraph Sports Awards.

Those included in our list of contenders are merely suggestions and that’s all they are. The choice is entirely down to you.

Peterborough Lions player/coach Darren Fox.

Peterborough Lions player/coach Darren Fox.

The top three in each category when voting closes on January 15 2016 will be invited to the annual awards bash at the Cresset on January 29 when the winners will be announced and the sponsors will present the trophies.

COACH OF THE YEAR

(sponsored by Coca Cola)

Slava Koulikov has been a smash hit since his appointment as player/coach of the Peterborough Phantoms ice hockey team in December 2013.

Posh coach Grant McCann.

Posh coach Grant McCann.

The players love him and the fans love him and they are sure to make him a frontrunner in the Coach of the Year voting.

He has overseen an incredible transformation of the city club since arriving at Planet Ice.

He guided Phantoms to English Premier League play-offs glory at the end of his first full season in charge and has now established them as genuine league title contenders in the current season.

The success is all the more incredible given Phantoms are thought to possess one of the smallest playing budgets in the 10-team league.

This award is sponsored by Coca-Cola.

This award is sponsored by Coca-Cola.

Koulikov, who called time on his playing career in the summer, is a mild-mannered and modest man in a sport full of aggression and adrenalin.

He possesses immense tactical knowledge and has created a strong team ethic which allows Phantoms to frequently beat bigger-spending rivals.

City of Peterborough Swimming Club’s Ben Negus, the club’s head coach, is a regular finalist in this category - he won it in 2009 - and always seems to make the top three.

And it’s easy to see why he’ll be a main contender again.

In 2015 COPS had a record number of swimmers qualify for the national championships - 34 out of a total of 123 members - and they returned from Ponds Forge in Sheffield with a best ever tally of 11 medals.

And to crown another fabulous year for Negus, for the fourth time he had one of his swimmers (Jaxon Simmons) selected for the ASA ‘World Class Podium Potential’ scheme.

Negus has been the club’s head coach for nine years and has turned a provincial swimming club into a nationally recognised ‘tour de force’. His talents are regularly called upon by other county associations and regional and national talent development programmes.

City man Darren Fox was a cracking top-class rugby union player during an illustrious career with Northampton Saints and Bedford Blues.

Now he’s trying his hand at the coaching side of the game and is attracting rave reviews.

His first job was as head coach at Peterborough Lions and he almost led them to the promotion play-offs in their first National League season. It went right down to the wire and they only just missed out in the final game of the season.

From athletics city-based Nene Valley Harriers are blessed with an outstanding coach in the shape of Russ Prosser. The popular junior endurance coach has been inspiring young athletes for many years and many go on to enjoy national success.

The local martial arts scene is lucky to have four of the very best instructors in the country at their disposal in the shape of Clifton Findley, Andy Whitwell, Andy Hicks and Lianne Jones. They all produced plenty of British champions in 2015 and a few world-beaters as well.

Football have four great candidates - Grant McCann (Posh), Jimmy Dean (Peterborough Sports), Steve Iredale (Northern Star Ladies) and John Carver (Deeping Under 15s).

CONTENDERS

Darren Fox

After an illusrious playing career at the top level with Northampton Saints and Bedford Blues, Fox took up his first coaching position with Peterborough Lions and nearly won them promotion in their first season at National League level.

Slava Koulikov

Turned the Phantoms ice hockey team from English Premier League ‘also-rans’ into Play-Off champions in just over a year.

Ben Negus

Ben Negus has been head coach at City of Peterborough Swimming Club (COPS) for nine years and has turned a provincial swimming club into a nationally recognised ‘tour de france’. His talents are regularly called upon by other county associations and regional and national talent development programmes.

Russ Prosser

Hard-working and conscientious coach with the thriving Nene Valley Harriers club. Enoys plenty of success at regional and national level.

Andy Whitwell

Chief instructor with the Peterborough BCKA club who continues to produce plenty of British, European and world kick-boxing champions.

John Carver

One of the best and most respected junior football coaches for miles around. Last season his team - Deeping Rangers Under 14s - completed a trophy treble for the third time and they’re on course to repeat the feat this season in the Peterborough Youth League Under 15 section.

Andrew Hicks

Runs a thriving full-time family martial arts centre called the Hicks Karate School of Excellence. During his 22 years at the helm he has produced scores of national and international champions.

Clifton Findley

The former world karate champion, a member of the Martial Arts Hall of Fame, runs the Peterborough Freestyle Karate club and churns out champions every year.

Darren Gibbons

Runs the Club GK goalkeeping school with a great deal of success. Many of his young students are snapped up by professional clubs.

Lianne Jones

A world kick-boxing champion who has set up her own martial arts club, Peterborough JAMA, to great effect. They haven’t been going for long but already they have a few British and world champions within their ranks.

Grant McCann

Popular former Peterborough United player who is now part of the coaching revolution under recently appointed manager Graham Westley.

Marcie Winlock

The inspirational coach of Longthorpe Tennis Club and of the top teenage talent in the city, Thalia Martin, Maki Zivotic and Jan Ortonowski.

Jimmy Dean

This former star player has taken a step up to management in style. Peterborough Sports have won every single league game since Dean was appointed.

Steve Iredale

Accomplished ladies football team manager who led Peterborough Northern Star ladies into the FA Women’s Premier League last season.

VOTE BY TEXT

Once again we are allowing readers to vote in the Peterborough Telegraph Sports Awards by text. Text your votes before midnight on Friday January 15, 2016 to 65550 starting your message with the code PETAWARDS then a space, then the abbreviated category name (see below) followed by the name of the person or team you wish to vote for. Please include your own name and address. You can vote in as many categories as you wish in one text message, but each message should contain no more than 160 characters. And don’t forget it’s strictly a maximum of five votes per number per category.

Category abbreviations: Sports Personality - SP; Sportsman - SM; Sportswoman - SW; Team - TM; Junior Sportsman - JM; Junior Sportswoman - JSW; Footballer - F; Junior Footballer - JF; Unsung hero - UH; Coach - C.

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