2 January 2008
Birchfield Harriers announce with very great sadness the death of sprint coach Steve Platt at the age of 60 after a four month battle with cancer.
He had been a Birchfield Harrier for almost a quarter of a century having initially taken his younger son Nick to the Alexander Stadium in 1984. After beginning as an assistant hurdles coach Platt progressed to coaching young sprinters and hurdlers at Birchfield Harriers. A decade later, he began to work with a raw talent, which he helped develop to become the World Junior 100 metres champion and Olympic 4x100m relay gold medallist. In 2000, the National Coaching Foundation chose Steve Platt as their “Coach of the year.”
Birchfield Harriers President Tom McCook spoke on behalf of the north Birmingham club:
“Steve was a lovely caring person of a modest disposition despite his achievements. Whilst to the media, Steve was Mark Lewis Francis’s coach; he was much more than just that. He also coached many athletes including several in his current group such as Luke Lennon-Ford, Ryan Farrington, Laura Scougall and Brenton Smith who are English Schools champions. Ed Dunford and Michelle Thomas are two other athletes who worked with Steve.
He was co-ordinator for the SPAR Sprint Initiative in the West Midlands.
We thank Suzanne for allowing Steve the time to coach and mentor so many youngsters at our club. It was both a privilege and a pleasure to spend time in Steve’s company. Steve Platt will never be forgotten by his many friends in the athletics family.”
Olympic gold medallist Mark Lewis Francis paid this warm tribute to his friend and long time coach:
“I am devastated by this very sad news. My thoughts are with Suzanne and her family at this time.
Steve came into my life when I was twelve years of age and became like a second father throughout my formative teenage years. He used to collect me from my mother’s house and drive me to training at Birchfield Harriers at the Alexander Stadium. His was the first face that I used to look for after I crossed the finishing line.
Steve has been a massive influence in my life. Everything that I have achieved in athletics so far including my World Junior title and Olympic sprint relay gold medal I owe to Steve. He was a very special person that I and my family will always remember with affectation and gratitude.”
Dave Collins, UK Athletics Performance Director, said:
"Steve was a fantastic coach, who offered positive experiences and genuine development to many young athletes. His contribution to athletics was considerable. He will be sorely missed"
Mr. Platt is survived by his wife Suzanne, sons Mark and Nick and three grand daughters.
The funeral service will take place at Aldridge Parish Church at noon on Thursday 10 January 2008.