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University takes over ownership of Wolves
9:00am Wednesday 16th July 2014 in Sport
WORCESTER Wolves are to be owned by the University of Worcester in a shake-up of the club’s structure.
The British Basketball League club, which has just enjoyed its most successful-ever campaign, will be taken under the wing of its long-time sponsor.
A new subsidiary company, UW Worcester Wolves, has been formed although the team will still be known by its usual name.
Roger Clarke, who owned the Wolves franchise for 15 years, has handed control to the university and will become the president.
Paul James continues as director of basketball, while Mick Donovan, head of the university’s institute of sport and exercise science, is the new managing director.
The idea is to strengthen the club in the future and build on winning the BBL play-offs and Trophy last season.
Although Most Valuable Player Zaire Taylor has left and Will Creekmore is expected to follow suit, Wolves are poised to unveil a host of new recruits and re-signings.
Clarke said: “The partnership with the university has been very successful and I feel that now is the right time for the university to take ownership of the club.
“The strength of the university, together with the arena and new club structure, will provide a platform to launch the club into a new era of development.”
Donovan added: “This is a really exciting time for the club as we look to build upon the great work that we have done with Roger in the past.
“The new structure will clearly give the club opportunity to grow in a strategic and sustainable way in the future. We now have an excellent programme, a fantastic venue and we want to continue to set the international standards for sport and education working together.”
As well as winning two pieces of BBL silverware last term, several of the Wolves players were part of the university team that won the British Universities and Colleges Sport title for the eighth time in 10 years.
Off the court, the university has become one of Europe’s leading higher education institutions for basketball.
It is a founder member of the FIBA Europe Universitas and, together with the Lithuanian Sports University and Leon University in Spain, home to the European Basketball Research Centre.
The Hylton Road arena is also the Great Britain men’s team training base and home to GB’s male and female wheelchair teams.
BBL chairman Ed Percival said: “The BBL is delighted with this development of the Worcester Wolves franchise, which we believe will assist the development of the club.
“The firm foundations being laid will provide the basis for sustainable future growth of basketball in the Worcester area.”