The Big Interview: Beejay Koya (Heriot Watt University Head Coach)

What Was The Attraction About Becoming Head Coach?

“There was no natural attraction as it came about after sustaining a bad injury in 2011, to keep me involved in the game, the Head of Sports Development at the time, Ross Campbell and Head Coach Micheel Renwick encouraged me to the take the 4th team, I then caught the “bug” of Coaching. Through that, there was a natural evolution where I progressed through to Reserves, 20s and then Head Coach. Over time, I realised how privileged i was in working in an optimal and people-centred Club. The opportunity to work in World class Training Facilities, great learning environment and open-minded individuals has kept me firmly anchored within the Club.”

What Was The Highlight?

“There is no one highlight I can pinpoint, however the process and journey of a 1st year come in as a fresher to then develop primarily as a better person, then as a footballer is one that can’t be quantified. Winning Cups and Leagues (BUCS), and competing in the EOS are also good highlights, but they are a by-product of a process driven approach.”

“From outside looking in – Guys like Aidan Quinn and Anton moving to Montrose and Falkirk (Full time) through East Fife are collective Club highlights.”

How Does The Student Recruitment Work?

“We don’t actively go out to recruit. Key aims are to retain ones we have, however naturally some on after end of Uni and some are signed higher level clubs. We do however have a good reputation as a Club of developing players and this natural attract players. We also created partnerships few years back where players from Napier, Edinburgh College, and Currie can play for our EOS team. We are also always excited to see what Freshers brings, and how we can help them develop and achieve their goals in both Sports and Education.”

Does Football Create A Platform For The Players?

“For the students, football creates a social platform which accelerates lifelong friendships and a sense of communal belonging. In football context, it creates exposure to diverse levels of football, some of our guy’s face players their age(17-21) on a Wed(BUCS), come Sat they could be facing an experienced 27-year-old like we did recently when we played Drumchapel. Gives them an exposure and opportunity to move to a higher level of competition.”

What Is The Best Prank Or Wind-Up You Have Seen In Football?

“I have had some wind-ups, but probably not suitable for an Interview. The classic one from a Uni view point is when I was 4th Team Coach. We had a game in Muirhouse 2pm Ko. My captain then told a fresher he had to turn up in Shirt and Tie, which is the attire on a BUCS Match Day. This lad arrived in Muirhouse with a bright White Shirt, ironed Trousers and shiny Black Shoes to pelters from his peers, but the opposition players and fans amusement was one that can’t be repeated. He saw the funny aside and ending up being one the best players in the team that year.”

Photograph of Beejay Koya kindly provided by Mr Alan McKay.

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