British coaching legend Wilf Paish, aged 77, passed away on Friday 29 January after a long illness.
The coach to Tessa Sanderson, Britain’s 1984 Olympic Javelin Throw champion, Paish had a worldwide reputation. Middle distance runner Peter Elliott and Javelin Thrower Mick Hill were two of this other high profile pupils who also took global championship medals during their careers.
Paish was a superb motivator with a much respected knowledge of physiology and bio mechanics, and was an author of many books and manuals on coaching technique and theory across all disciplines. He also advised on general fitness for other sports including Rugby and Cricket, a sport which had been his first passion, and spent a long spell working in South Africa where he was chief coach of their Olympic squad.
Born in Gloucestershire, Paish trained as a PE teacher at Carnegie College, Leeds, and then took a teaching post in Essex. He was made National Coach for the North of England, after moving back to Leeds in the early sixties and taught at Carnegie College, which in time was to become part of Leeds Metropolitan University.
In 2005, in Queen Elizabeth II’s Birthday Honours, Paish was awarded an MBE (Member of the British Empire) for services to Athletics.
On receiving the prestigious national honour, Paish commented: "It's a sign of appreciation of all the other coaches who help me come hail, rain or shine. It's not just about what I've done as an individual…. Over the 50-odd years of coaching, I've coached Olympians to gold, silver and bronze medals. Obviously I'm delighted to have been given this MBE but I do this just for love – not for anything else.”