The appointment of Fife-born Stuart Milne as director of football at St Andrews University has been a major success story in helping to raise the performance and profile of the sport both at the institution and also in the local community.
Now 12 months in situ, his recruitment was a further push by the Department of Sport and Exercise to boost several sports at Scotland’s oldest university - directors have also been appointed in rugby, tennis, water polo and golf.
Stuart has overall responsibility for the growth and development of the men’s and women’s football clubs at the university, as well as also developing football programmes internally and externally.
With previous coaching experience with SFA Fife Football Development, Dunfermline Athletic, Raith Rovers and East Fife senior football clubs, he currently looks after the men’s first team at the university which has enjoyed an impressive run of successes since his arrival.
He said: ”My remit entails looking at the whole structure of the clubs and implementing an infrastructure of which the university can be proud.
”It also incorporates developing football activity within the university and forging links with the local community, including school visits.”
A graduate of Stirling University, Stuart has introduced several successful initiatives at the university - including appointing three coaches to the men’s club, securing financial investment and offering regular physio - which have drawn plaudits from students and seen membership grow.
Gregor Smith, former team captain and now honorary president, said: ”Stuart’s appointment has completely transformed our club. He has brought about a whole new air of professionalism and structure which is impacting performance and, ultimately, enriching members’ footballing experience at the university.”
In the local community, Stuart co-ordinated an eight-week floodlit football programme in partnership with Fife Constabulary, Fife Fire and Rescue Service, North East Fife Active Schools, Fife Council’s Community Education, the SFA and the men’s football club at the university.
More than 30 teenagers regularly attended the weekly Saturday night sessions at the university sports centre astroturf and it proved so popular that a new programme starts on February 11.
Stuart also spearheads projects for primary and secondary school pupils and organised for the women’s football club to help deliver a programme in primary schools which, it is hoped, will encourage more females to take up the game.
Last summer he staged a day-long tournament for under-17 year teams from professional clubs, including Dundee United, St Mirren, Falkirk, Stenhousemuir, Clyde and Queens Park, and plans are afoot for a bigger event this year.