Tributes to University of Nottingham's Director of Physical Recreation and Sport

22 Jun 2009 14:13:00.000

PA 170/09

Vaughan Williams, The University of Nottingham’s Director of Physical Recreation and Sport, has died at the age of 63 after a short illness.


Vaughan joined the University in 1976 and has led the Department of Physical Recreation and Sport for almost 33 years. Under his leadership, University team performance has been consistently ranked within the top 10 per cent of British universities. Elite performers such as England and Lions rugby player, Brian Moore, and Olympic Gold medal-winning canoeist, Tim Brabants, received coaching and support from Vaughan during their student years.


Yet, for Vaughan, sport at Nottingham was also about the participation of as many people as possible — exemplified by his ethos of ‘sport for all’.

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Vaughan was born in South Wales and joined the University after a number of teaching and coaching posts, including a period in the Bahamas where he qualified to play through residency and gained several Rugby Union caps for the islands. He was an ‘A’ Panel referee for Rugby Union and Senior Coach for the Squash Rackets Association.

During his time at Nottingham, Vaughan contributed to University sport at the highest level through his involvement in a wide range of national bodies: as Vice-President of the British Universities Sports Association (BUSA) and as Manager of the English Universities Rugby Union Team. Vaughan Chaired the BUSA Rugby Union Management Group and, for the last 10 years, has been the Students’ representative on the English RFU Council.

Professor David Greenaway, the Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham, said that Vaughan will be remembered for his huge contribution to University life.

Professor Greenaway said: “Vaughan will be sadly missed by his many friends and colleagues and by the countless number of student sportsmen and women who have benefitted from his coaching and advice. He exemplified what was best in University sport and life.”

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PICTURE CAPTION: Vaughan Williams (extreme right) at an event for sporting alumni held at the University in March 2009. Vaughan played a huge role in the early careers of some of the University's brightest sporting stars. Pictured left to right are: Dr Tim Brabants MBE, Gold-medal winning canoeist; Silver medal-winning canoeist David Florence; Jess Sylvester (swimming), Anne Panter (hockey), Vaughan Williams.

Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THE) World University Rankings.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to RAE 2008, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranks the University 7th in the UK by research power. In 27 subject areas, the University features in the UK Top Ten, with 14 of those in the Top Five.

The University provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's “only truly global university”, it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy), and was named ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.
Nottingham was designated as a Science City in 2005 in recognition of its rich scientific heritage, industrial base and role as a leading research centre. Nottingham has since embarked on a wide range of business, property, knowledge transfer and educational initiatives ( in order to build on its growing reputation as an international centre of scientific excellence. The University of Nottingham is a partner in Nottingham: the Science City.

Story credits

Tim Utton

Tim Utton - Deputy Director of Communications

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 846 8092 Location: University Park

Additional resources

Rugby Football Union - tribute

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