Glasgow Hawks bolster coaching line-up

President Kenny Hamilton optimistic that the club is at the start of a new chapter after a tough couple of years

Adam Ashe previously had a spell coaching Stirling Wolves in Super Series and in the USA. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Adam Ashe previously had a spell coaching Stirling Wolves in Super Series and in the USA. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

GLASGOW HAWKS have added former Glasgow Warriors and Scotland back-row Adam Ashe to their coaching team ahead of the 2024-25 Premiership season.

The 30-year-old will work alongside Thomas Davidson as assistants to head coach Andy Hill, with Hawks looking to bounce back after a tough couple of years which has seen them miss out on Super6/Series, move base from Old Anniesland to Balgray in fairly fraught circumstances and struggle to compete at the top end of the Premiership.

The club was initially formed 1996 as a partnership between Glasgow Academicals and Glasgow High Kelvinside with the aim of ensuring that Scotland’s biggest city had a club entity capable of supporting the newly professionalised game. Hawks won the Premiership three years on the trot between 2004 and 2006, the Scottish Cup three times in 1998, 2004 and 2007, and has provided a stepping stone to countless players who have gone on to play professionally and internationally. For Ashe, the desire to return to those heady days was a big factor behind his decision to jump on board.


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“One of the things that inspired me when I was talking to Kenny Hamilton [the club President], Andy [Hill] and Neil Watson – a really good friend who has recently got involved at the club – is that Hawks are the only Premiership team in Glasgow at the moment, and there is an opportunity and desire there to do something now to get them back up to where they used to be at the forefront of the club game,” he explained.

“It’s actually really important because when you think of how well Glasgow Warriors are doing at the moment, it would be crazy not to have a club in the city which can really support that by providing playing opportunities for guys coming through the ranks who have that ambition I once had to go on and play for Warriors and Scotland.”

Ashe has been back living in the West End of Glasgow for about a year after a spell coaching in the USA immediately after hanging up his boots. He has a number of business interests and a young family after the birth of his son of February, but the rugby bug still burns bright.

“I wanted to take a bit of time out of coaching after a tough experience in my first full-time coaching gig with the Chicago Hounds during their debut season in MLR,” he said. “My wife was pregnant so we’d moved back to Scotland in early 2023 and I was trying to figure out if I want to coach on a full-time basis. I think the conclusion that I came to is that it’s not something I want to do professionally. But I do love coaching, I love being able to impact people, I love to see people do well, I get a real buzz out of all that stuff, so when this opportunity came up it seemed like a great fit.

“I came through Stirling County so I’ve played against Hawks loads and I know quite a few of the guys there. They’ve always seemed like a really good club – a positive environment – so it is nice to be familiar with them and coaching somewhere close to home because Balgray is just up the road from our house.”

 

 

For Hamilton, it was a case of the right man in the right place at the right time, so Ashe’s appointment was a no-brainer as the club prepares for the post-Super Series era.

“We are strengthening what is already a strong coaching team with Andy Hill and Tom Davidson by adding in a really good guy who has a lot of experience and knowledge of the pro game,” he reasoned. “It is a statement of commitment from us that we are still very much driven by the desire to provide a platform for up and coming young talent, and to help them develop to reach their full potential.

“I think that there is now that very clear link between the top end of the club game and the pro tier. There is a lot of turmoil and uncertainty at the moment due to the demise of Super Series, and the player recruitment market is pretty wild, but once it settles down I think we all need to concentrate on how we generate the next generation of pro players. There is a responsibility on all of us to do that.

“Looking ahead to World Rugby’s plans for a Nations Championship which may or may not take place in Qatar,  the demands on international players are going to be huge, and unless we are going to abandon all principles of player welfare and just beast guys until they break, then international players are going to struggle to commit to Edinburgh and Glasgow from 2026 onwards.

“And unless we are going to recruit them all from South Africa, we need to take our own player development process a bit more seriously in Scotland, so I hope that means concentrating a bit of resource and a bit of commitment to the top end of the club game.

“My view is that this [the top of the club game] is a vital part of Scottish rugby’s environment which has been sadly neglected over the past few years. We desperately need to up the standard and we need to make clear decisions on whether that’s where resources should be focussed, or whether we are going to continue to increasingly rely on importing guys from elsewhere. Personally, I don’t think the second option is a sustainable strategy whatsoever.”

 

 

Hamilton was one of the founding fathers of the Hawks experiment back in the late 1990s and has been a constant presence ever since. He admits that his loyalty and commitment has felt like a thankless task at times, but reveals that his enthusiasm has been boosted by the arrival of some new energy and thinking in recent months.

“It has been a tough journey for the club over the last couple of years, but Neil Watson’s involvement is extremely healthy and what he and I have been doing is speaking to a number of other folk we hope share our commitment to supporting the development of Glasgow rugby,” he said.

“There is a lot of goodwill so the challenge for us is to convert that into something more tangible which can help Hawks compete at the top table, to provide the right level of playing and coaching opportunities for ambitious young players in the city.

“We need to have a senior presence in Glasgow and if we lose that then the biggest population base in the country – so the biggest recruitment area for rugby players in the country – will be hugely underrepresented.

“There is certainly an ambition to get back to that level where we were winning Premiership titles, running multiple teams at a really competitive level and had a buoyant youth section. Our ambition is to re-establish our under-18 side the season after next.

“Some of the younger former Hawks players have also indicated that they could be persuaded to contribute at committee level, so I’m fairly optimistic about the future.”

“The other positive sign is the prospect of re-engagement with the pro teams and the academies. We’ve been invited by Al Kellock [Glasgow Warriors Managing Director] to sit down at some point over the summer to discuss what the implications of this pathway review are for both Warrior and Hawks.”


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About David Barnes 4029 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

2 Comments

  1. Happy to hear Hawks’ to be in touch with Al Kellock … there are few young Academy boys there who Hawks helped on their way and maybe could do with top tier game time at their old haunt.

  2. Is this the same Glasgow Hawks that several “informed” posters told us would be folding at the end of the season?

    Good luck to Adam and the Hawks in the SRU wasteland of Glasgow!

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