Slam Dunk As Mohawks Legend Joins Middlesbrough College
23 July 2012
Middlesbrough College has scored a real slam dunk after appointing Tees Valley Mohawks coach Tony Hanson MBE as Director of the College’s MC SPORT Basketball Academy.
Tony is a giant in the game, after a stunning playing career which saw him earn the titles of New England Player of the Year, USBWA District I Player of the Year and ECAC Player of the Year in the 1976-77 senior season.
Now 56, Tony still holds records from his playing days and was awarded an MBE in 2007 for Service to Sport and Youth Development in the Community through his community basketball programme Hoop Dreams.
With more than 40 years of basketball experience at the highest levels, the Connecticut native is ideally placed to coach the emerging talent which Middlesbrough College is nurturing.
Tony said: “I’m very excited for the Tees Valley Mohawks Basketball Club to be involved again with Middlesbrough College’s MC SPORT Basketball Academy. The College has a proud history as one of the first and best basketball academies in the UK.
“Many academy players have helped the Mohawks to achieve an unprecedented nine National Championships in English Basketball. In addition, many of our players have gone on to pursue basketball careers in the USA, UK and Europe.
“We lose players to football so we hope the new MC SPORT academies, we also want to still raise the sports’ profile at this level.
“I’m coaching the 16-19s in the British College Sports’ League. We are developing the squad and building links with clubs back in the states and Europe so that there are clear player pathways.
“We’ve got guys going over to America and we’ve got American guys coming here to train with the Mohawks which will all help the academy team’s development.”
And it’s not just Tony’s reputation in the game that inspires his students, it’s his dedication to ‘Hoop Dreams’ which has rubbed off on one of his players, former Middlesbrough College student Carl Colmer.
Carl, 27 from Hemlington played for the Middlesbrough College basketball team before Tony was appointed while studying a BTEC in Sports Exercise and Coaching, and now works for ‘Hoop Dreams’ as a coach, as well as being a valued member of the Tees Valley Mohawks.
Carl said: “I get the best of both worlds I have a fantastic job and I get to play basketball, it’s what I’ve always wanted to do and its all thanks to Tony and Middlesbrough College.
“Not only is Tony a fantastic coach, he’s a great man and a real leader. He gave me a chance and my first job.
“I think he’s the ideal choice to head up the new MC SPORT basketball academy.”
Basketball is just one of the sports Middlesbrough College is developing through its new MC SPORT academies.
Paul Watt, Deputy Director of Sport at Middlesbrough College said: “Colleges and universities in America are where some of the best sporting talent is found; we want to use that philosophy here with the new MC SPORT academies.
“With the new MC6 building, we will have all the facilities we need to produce and condition some of the best young athletes in the country. It only makes sense to ensure we employ the very best coaches and Tony is undoubtedly one of the best in his field.
“We are very proud of our tradition for being up there at the top for college basketball in this country and we want to build on it in the future. With the new MC6 building and Tony on board, I believe we can do that.”