UL launches new initiative, UL Beo with the Pat Duffy Lecture in Coaching and Leadership

Liam Moggan and Gary Ryan, UL Beo Project Manager, Baroness Sue Campbell CBE, Chair of Youth Sport Trust UK and former Chair of

The University of Limerick launched a new initiative, UL Beo, with its first public event the Pat Duffy Lecture in Coaching and Leadership last night. A full house from a broad spectrum of the sporting world heard about the launch of the new project in Physical Activity, Health Lifestyle and Sport, before a tribute was paid to the late Professor Pat Duffy and a fascinating insight into the skills and experiences of leadership from Dr Keith Wood and Baroness Sue Campbell.

The new initiative aims to make the University of Limerick a world leading environment for the practise and research of Sport and Physical Activity. It will support the development of new projects in physical activity and health, lifestyle and performance sport. It will work with members of the public, sports and community organisations as well as the University’s own faculty and staff to generate new ideas and innovations that will make Limerick an international leader in the field. Gary Ryan the UL Beo Project Manager outlined the vision for the project to “enhance the lives of individuals the region and the nation” and referred to the broad range of work already under way under the UL Beo umbrella.

The initiative was launched with the first annual Pat Duffy Lecture. The late Professor Pat Duffy was a Thomond College graduate and UL lecturer who led the development of the National Coaching and Training Centre and the Elite athlete carding scheme before leaving to become Chief Executive of UK Sport and laterally Professor of Coaching at Leeds Met University. He had a profound influence on the shape of sport in not only Ireland and the UK but across Europe and especially in South Africa.

In his memory the first lecture on Coaching and Leadership was delivered by two of the most outstanding leaders in Sport in Europe. Dr Keith Wood, Irish Rugby Captain spoke about how in his post rugby career his relationship with Pat Duffy had led him to one of his most challenging but potentially most exciting ventures in his becoming the Chair of the Healthy Ireland Council.  Keith Wood paid tribute to Professor Pat Duffy by saying, “What he said was often intriguing and brilliant and he had the capacity to think differently and challenge your assumption.”

Baroness Sue Campbell, former chair of UK sport and the current chair of the Youth Sports trust gave a wonderful insight into what it takes to be a great leader, drawing on her own experiences of leading some of the largest sports organisations in Europe and particularly referencing Pat Duffys influence on her own style and decision making. "Integrity -That to me was his greatest strength.”

The evening had begun with an emotional, touching and humorous tribute to Professor Duffy, from his long-time colleague and friend, Liam Moggan. The evening reflected the man and his work and it was appropriate an initiative like UL Beo was launched in conjunction with this event as Pat had played a significant role in the development of the vision for UL Beo. Its scope and ambition for the future would be reflective of the man and his life’s work.