FRANK Delaney has said he has no plans of slowing down as he celebrates 45-years as a Coach with Springhill Boxing Club.
Frank helped to revive the North Lanarkshire club in August 1976, having previously boxed for them in his younger years.
Since the club’s revival, Frank has been an ever-present nurturing boxing talent in Shotts for the past five decades – in some cases including three generations of the same family.
“The club was going in the late 50’s and 60’s and I boxed for them as a boy,” Frank explained.
“The club was situated in the prefab houses which were built just after the war and were only meant to be for 10 years.
“Right in the middle of the prefabs we had a hall, which was the Prefab Hall. That was where the original Springhill Boxing Club started.
“In the late 60’s they knocked down all the prefabs and knocked down the hall and that was the boxing club stopped and we all went to various different clubs.
“Then in 1976 a guy approached me, a fellow ex-boxer from Springhill, and asked if I fancied helping to get it started again.
“To be honest I wasn’t that keen at the time, but I decided to go ahead with it.
“We started in ’76 and I never stopped.
“When I look back, I am really quite surprised to think it has been 45 years. It doesn’t feel as long as that.
“But I used to get kids come along to the gym and they would say ‘you used to train my Dad’.
“Now I’ve got them coming and saying ‘you used to train my Papa’.
“That’s when you realise you have been there for a long time.
“And I have quite a few of them say that to me.
“But I think it keeps me young.”
Delaney’s Gym has seen a number of top amateurs come through its doors over the past 45-years, including Scotland’s only World amateur champion.
“Willie Hutchison was a great amateur,” Frank added.
“He is the first and the only boxer from Scotland to win a World Youth title.
“That year he also won a European Gold, which had never been done before by a Scottish boxer at that age group.
“He was exceptional.
“I remember he first came when he was about 9 years old and he had something special about him.
“He had a quiet confidence. If you asked him if he thought he could win his next bout, he would say ‘Yes I think I can stop him Frank’.
“He was not boasting in any way, he was just matter of fact.
“But I have had a few good ones, big Ross Henderson at Super-Heavy, Kieran Smith and Scott Forrest who won a Silver at the World Youths.
“I had lots of good boxers, but they were a wee bit special.”
But while Frank has helped nurture some of Scotland’s best amateurs, he has also assisted countless other kids and adults over the past five decades.
The Springhill Head Coach was adamant that his work with the club is about so much more than just training champions.
Frank said: “I was recently standing at the garage putting petrol in my car and there was a guy in his 40’s who said ‘Hi Frank how are you doing, you don’t remember me do you?
“He said he used to come to the boxing in the 80’s.
“We started talking and he said that he wasn’t very good at boxing, but that what he remembered about me was that I spent as much time with him as with the top boxers in the gym.
“He said he still trains three times a week and that I had installed that training regime into him.
“I drove up the road quite chuffed with myself that day. And it wasn’t because I had made a champion out of him, but I had made a better person out of him.”
In addition to his day to day running of Springhill Boxing Club, Frank also currently serves as a Director on the Board of Boxing Scotland, a position he has held since 2009.
Frank revealed that former Boxing Scotland chairman, the late Richard Thomas, had invited Frank to apply for the Board following interactions with him at an open Q&A session not long after Richard had taken on his position.
“It opened my eyes up to a lot of things,” Frank admitted.
“I had been coaching for many years and I knew all about that, but I didn’t realise some of the things that went on at that level.
“There were a lot of things I used to complain about, but when you find out from the Board point of view it is not as easy as it seems.”
The past few months have brought a lot of change at Boxing Scotland, with Chris Roberts OBE having been installed as the new Chief Executive earlier this year.
The retired three-star AIBA referee had previously served for 30 years with Her Majesty’s Armed Forces in the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, which included more than 20 years as a member of the Army Boxing Association Executive Committee.
“I am quite impressed by his CV,” Frank said of the new CEO.
“I remember Chris when he was a referee and I used to see him at tournaments.
“He seems to be fitting in well and doing some good things and there are exciting times ahead.”
Meanwhile, Frank feels there are still exciting times ahead for him too as a Boxing Coach, even if that means eventually coaching a fourth generation of Shotts kids; “I don’t know if that is scary, but that could happen,” Frank laughed.
“Touch wood I am still healthy enough and good enough, so I intend to keep going for as long as I can.”