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Aug. 3, 2006

Virginia head hockey coach Michele Madison has announced the appointment of Chris Spice as the Associate Head Coach for the Cavalier program. Spice, who has been a part of the successful Olympic and World Cup hockey programs in both Australia and Great Britain, adds more international experience to the Virginia hockey program. He is coming off a five-year term as the Director of High Performance for the England Rugby Union.

“I am really looking forward to working at UVA with Michele and the staff at one of America’s finest academic institutions,” said Spice.

Chris Spice is among one of the most respected coaches in the world,” said Virginia head coach Michele Madison.”His experiences with athlete development, performance evaluation and his tactical knowledge will compliment this staff tremendously.”

While the Performance Director for England Rugby, Spice was responsible for the development, implementation, and management of the high performance program. He designed and implemented an elite player squad program, and developed a strategic plan for the elite game. Under his watch, England won the 2003 World Cup for the first time and the Six Nations Championship while finishing as runners-up in the 2002 Six Nations Championship and the 2003 and 2004 World Series Sevens.

Prior to working with the English Rugby Union, Spice served as the Performance Director of Great Britain and English hockey from 1997-2001. He was responsible for the performance of the Great British Olympic and English national sides for both men and women, which included the appointment and management of all coaches as well as the implementation of performance targets and Olympic team reviews. During his tenure, the English women’s 11 took home the silver in the 1998 Commonwealth Games while the men’s side won the bronze at the same competition.

Spice came to Great Britain after serving as an assistant national coach for Women’s Hockey Australia from 1993-1997. The national junior (U21) head coach while also performing as an AIS senior coach, Spice assisted with technical and tactical player development and statistical analysis. The Hockeyroos were ranked No. 1 in the world during all of Spice’s five years, winning a major international tournament each year. Australia won the gold at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and the 1994 World Cup in Dublin, Ireland, and the Hockeyroos also won the Rabobank Champions’ Trophy in 1993, 1995 and 1997.

A 1992 graduate of Edith Cowan University in Perth, Australia, Spice was awarded the Royal Institute of Parks and Recreation academic prize as the outstanding student of 1992 and earned an elite hockey coaching scholarship to the Australian Institute of Sport. He earned his FIH Grade 1 Hockey Coach certificate in Brussels in 1996.

“Chris’s expertise will help us lay the foundation in all aspects of the program,” added Madison.

Sara Confer, a second-year on the 2006 team, commented, “First we get the best staff in America, now we have the best staff in the world!”

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