Ayr's David Gourlay wins Coach of the Year for bowls efforts

David Gourlay, from Ayr, won coach of the year at the sportscotland Coaching Officiating and Volunteer Awards 2018
David Gourlay, from Ayr, won coach of the year at the sportscotland Coaching Officiating and Volunteer Awards 2018

The bowls coach who guided Scotland to Gold Coast glory has had his years of dedication to sport recognised after winning sportscotland’s High-Performance Coach of the Year Award.

David Gourlay MBE, from Ayr, a high-performance coach for Bowls Scotland, has been instrumental in the cultural change of bowls in Scotland from a non-coached sport to one which sees coaching as crucial, with fantastic results.

Sue Beatt accepted the awarded for David on the night

Sue Beatt accepted the awarded for David on the night

David took some convincing from his family and friends when the opportunity arose to become a high-performance coach but, seven years on, he has never looked back.

Under his guidance, Scotland’s bowlers have excelled in the last two Commonwealth Games, the highest level at which bowlers can compete.

Scotland won three gold medals and a silver at Glasgow 2014 and five medals at Gold Coast 2018, meaning every Scot on the team returned from Australia with a medal in the most successful Commonwealth Games for the country on the bowling green.

Remarkably, David has been able continue his career as a player throughout his time as a coach and won the 2017 Scottish International Open and the 2018 World Bowls Tour International Open.

David admits Scotland’s recent success is still hard to take in – but he insists working with some of the world’s best players and trying to find Scotland’s next generation of bowlers will maintain his passion for the sport for a long time.

He said: “To have a home games in Glasgow, all the expectation and the atmosphere, then the guys winning three gold medals was incredible.

“Then in Gold Coast for every member of the squad to win a medal was just unbelievable.”

“We’re lucky in Scotland, we have a lot of top class bowlers. I’m really privileged to work with the best bowlers in the world.”

David picked up his award on an evening where inspirational coaches, officials and volunteers from all over Scotland were celebrated across 13 categories for their significant contribution to sport over the past 12 months.

The sportscotland Coaching Officiating and Volunteer Awards 2018, were held at Glasgow City Chambers on Thursday, where leading athletes congratulated the winners and thanked them for their work in supporting and developing sport in Scotland.

Stewart Harris, sportscotland chief executive, said: “Every year across Scotland, thousands of dedicated sporting enthusiasts devote their time, knowledge and skills to help others achieve their sporting goals.

“Our coaching, officiating and volunteering awards provide us with a chance to celebrate the great sporting achievements that are taking place every day and congratulate individuals on their commitment to Scottish sport.

“David has done an incredible job in helping Scotland’s bowlers achieve some brilliant results on the world stage. The commitment, dedication and support he offers our bowlers can’t be overstated and he’s a fully deserving winner of this award.

“At sportscotland, we are implementing a world-class sporting system at every level in Scotland and we can only do so with the support of the many dedicated coaches, officials and volunteers.”

At the event, hosted by BBC Scotland’s Bryan Burnett, coaches, officials and volunteers involved in many sports were recognised.