Following an extremely successful debut season in the league, Gladiators Head Coach, Miguel Ortega has been named the WBBL Coach of the Year, as voted by representatives across all of the clubs.
Ortega’s side finished the regular season campaign in second place, behind only league winners London Lions. Also, recently, his side qualified for the play-off semi-final following an impressive quarter final win against Cardiff Met Archers.
A season highlight included a huge win on the road against London Lions at the Copper Box Arena, where in February, the Gladiators pulled off an outstanding upset with an impressive 67-68 finish thanks to two clutch Chantelle Handy free throws. The victory crushed the Lions’ previous 52-game win streak, which had lasted since April 2021.
All season long, Miguel has shown his experience on and off the court, guiding the squad to becoming better players, and more importantly people through his lessons taught. His side had a 17-5 record, equal with Krumesh Patel’s Leicester Riders following a strong final few weeks with wins against Sheffield Hatters, Sevenoaks Suns, and Leicester Riders leading the side to playoffs strongly.
Around the club, and more broadly the league, the Spanish coach is hugely respected thanks to his work before the Gladiators, and huge success of a career in Scotland so far. Previously, Ortega has coached in Women’s EuroLeague, EuroCup and for the national basketball sides of Spain and Gibraltar. Predominantly, he has spent his coaching stints in Spain’s LFB, the top level of competition in the country.
The team’s Assistant Coach, Donnie MacDonald said: “Miguel has an encyclopedic knowledge and understanding of the game of basketball that he combines with high standards of behaviour and a desire to make those around him better, whether that be players, coaches or anyone else around the team. Over the years that I have known him, he’s believed in me, challenged me and put me in situations that have forced me to step up, for which I’m extremely grateful.”
Player/coach, Chantelle Handy added: “Every day is a school day with Miguel. He always surprises with the way he delivers practices and interacts with players. He’s not just a great coach but an amazing person. I couldn’t ask to work with a better man. I have and will continue to learn every day. It is a well-deserved award for what he has achieved with our team this season.”