COACHING STAFFCoaching Staff
Neal Hopkins - Head Coach/Programme Leader
Neal Hopkins established Myerscough College Basketball Academy in 2013, where he serves as Programme Leader and head coach. During his Myerscough tenure, Hopkins has received Coach of the Year honours five times (National League Division 3 North 2017-18; Elite Academy Basketball League 2014-15, 2015-16, 2017-18, 2019-20), coached three EABL Players of the Year, two No. 1 rated DENG Camp prospects and helped 15 players receive collegiate scholarships to North American-based institutions. He delivered three of the Academy’s first-ever senior titles during the 2017-18 season and has elevated the programme’s profile across Europe, winning the European Youth Basketball regular season in 2019-20.
Hopkins has a half decade of British Basketball League (BBL) experience as an assistant coach, as well head coaching experience in Basketball England’s National League 1 and with the North West Regional Performance Centre. He was an assistant coach for Great Britain at the 2019 U20 FIBA European Championships.
Education: High Performance Coaching, Sport (2008) and UKCC Level 4 Elite Coaching (2016) from University of Central Lancashire
Mike Bernard - Academy Coach
Michael Bernard is entering his fifth season at Myerscough and second as head coach of the women’s programme. Bernard, who was named WEABL Conference Coach of the Year, previously coached the Under-18 Men and Division 4 teams during his tenure at the Academy. He was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by Myerscough College in 2015 for his services to British Basketball.
Prior to joining the Myerscough coaching staff, Bernard had a storied professional career that began in 2002 and spanned 12 different clubs across Europe. He played for Seth Greenberg (Long Beach State, USF, Virginia Tech) at the University of South Florida after spending two years at Coffeyville Community College. Bernard learned his trade as a junior with the Manchester Giants — where he returned in 2012 to finish his professional career — from 1994-98.
Experience: 12 years of professional European basketball (2002-2015); two-year member of the University of South Florida basketball team; two years at Coffeyville Community College
Troy Culley - Academy Coach
Troy Culley is in entering his fifth year at Myerscough College where he coaches the National League Division 3 Men’s team. Culley guided the Under-18 Men’s team to an unbeaten Premier North regular season title, an U18 National Championship and he claimed a third-straight AoC Sport Knockout Cup medal in 2018-19. His duties include being an assistant with the European Youth Basketball League, EABL and National League Division 2 teams. During the 2019 summer, he led the England U18 Men’s team to a third place finish at the Future Stars International Tournament.
Before coming to Myerscough, Culley was head coach with the Kent Crusaders U14 Boys, the South East Regional Performance Centre and South West Regional Development Teams (U13s, U15s and U17s). He was also an apprentice with the England Under-16 Men’s National Team. He was named Great Britain U16 Boys head coach in December 2019.
Education: Bachelor’s Degree of Sports and Exercise Science (2016) from University of Kent; PgDip in Elite Coaching Practice (2018) and Master of Science in Elite Coaching Practice (2019) from University of Central Lancashire, FIBA Europe Coaching Certificate (2019)
Lewis Scott - Academy Coach
Lewis Scott is entering his fourth year at Myerscough College where he is coming off his first season as head coach of the Under 18 Men’s team. Scott led the Under 18 Men’s team to the National Cup Final during the 2019-20 season. He was formerly coach of the Academy’s Division One Women’s team and recently the Division 4 Men’s team. He serves an assistant coach to Neal Hopkins and Troy Culley, where he was on the bench for the Division 3 treble winning team and Under-18 National Championship team.
Prior to Myerscough, Scott was head coach of the Lancashire Spinners U16 Boys, the North Regional Performance Centre and U15 North West Development teams, and the Oldham Titans where he was awarded Basketball England Young Coach of the Year in 2013. He was also an apprentice coach to the England Under-17 Women’s team from 2017 to 2018.
Dave Collister – Academy Coach / Programmer Leader
David Collister is entering his sixth year with Myerscough College and Myerscough Basketball Academy where he serves as a Lecturer in Sport and Academy Coach and works primarily with the AoC Sport Category 2 team on court and in the strength and conditioning suite. He is also the University of Manchester head coach, competing in BUCS Tier I.
Collister previously taught in the Greater Manchester area beginning in 2011 before accepting a position at Myerscough. He has been coaching since 2013, including at the Under-18 and National League level. He has experience playing National League Division 3.
Education: Bachelor of Science with Honours in Sports and Exercise from UCLAN (2010); Post Graduate Diploma in Education from the University of Bolton (2012); Level 2 Basketball Coach.
Joe Gurley – Academy Coach / Strength & Conditioning
Joe Gurley is entering his first season at Myerscough College, where he will serve as an Academy coach and strength and conditioning coach. Prior to Myerscough, Gurley served as the head strength and conditioning coach at D1 SPORTS TRAINING in Birmingham, Alabama in the United States, following a successful run as head strength coach for the UAB women’s basketball team and an assistant with the men’s programme. He was part two Conference USA (NCAA Division I) regular season championships – the men’s in 2016 and women’s 2018. Both teams set records for wins.
The 26-year-old has gained experience under a strong pedigree of strength coaches, including interning for his mentor Adam Petway at the University of Arknsas. Petway is now the head of athletic performance for the NBA’s Washington Wizards. While at UAB, Gurley worked for Cory Schlesinger, who works with the Phoenix Suns.
Education: Bachelor’s Degree of Sports and Exercise Science (2016) from the University of Alabama-Birmingham; Masters Degree in Strength and Conditioning (2019) from Edith Cowan University; Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach (NSCA)
James Jones – Academy Coach / Lecturer
James Jones has returned to the Myerscough Basketball programme after a six-year absence. Jones, who was part of the inaugural staff at the Academy back during the in 2013-14 season, had an accomplished British Basketball League career with the Guildford Heat, Mersey Tigers and Plymouth Raiders. He also had two stints with the reincarnated Manchester Giants where he was voted winner of the Pete Jacques Award as best British player in the league in 2014.
The 36-year-old completed his Masters degree at the University of Alberta, serving as an assistant coach on the Golden Bears Basketball coaching staff and as a professor in the Physical Education department where he taught basketball classes. Jones has been no stranger to the programme since departing in 2014, having returned to Preston as a guest coach at the Myerscough Basketball Summer Performance Camps.
During his second stint with the Giants, Jones worked as community sports officer in Manchester.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and Exercise Science (2007) from Whitworth University; Masters degree from the University of Alberta (2018)
Tom Khan – Sports Therapist / Sports Medic
Tom Kahn is entering his second year with Myerscough Basketball as point of contact for injuries and health performance. He oversees and manages everything from acute injuries chronic issues, typical sprains, muscular strains, growth related issues and problems, concussions, pre and post-operative care and neural issues to name a few.
Kahn liaises and works with the coaching staff keeping them up to date on injuries and health related problems on a sessional basis as well as noticing deficits within students and given proposed advice in what could make them better student-athletes. This is essential in smooth running for the coaches and they are kept up to date with where the students are regarding health and what they can tolerate and what they can not.
Kahn has worked and amassed a range of experience from a variety of settings including, elite athletics (IAAF world indoor championships 2018), professional football (Wigan AFC, Liverpool FC), professional rugby, MMA & boxing, clinic based work and private care. Building and enhancing knowledge from different backgrounds and learning from those with extensive experience has fed off on Tom giving him additional skills and knowledge allowed to utilise himself within practice.
Education: BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy from University of Central Lancashire (2016); MSc Sports Medicine (2018); VTCT Level 4 Sports Masseuse; Advanced pre–hospital first aid; other rehabilitation, performance and strength and conditioning workshops undertaken; currently working towards NSCA CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning specialist)