Blacklock takes his international pedigree to study for the VSI MSc in Sporting Directorship

Profile picture of Don Blacklock
When it came to laying down the law, the ever-innovative sport of netball proved itself more than capable of thinking outside the box in selecting an Officiating Manager.

Canadian Don Blacklock has an international pedigree when it comes to officiating matches and managing match officials in lacrosse but confesses to having very little knowledge of netball when he started with England Netball almost seven years ago.

That didn’t deter him though when handed the chance to leave a successful career in the automotive industry to assume responsibility for the overall management and strategic direction of England Netball’s officiating program .
He revealed: “ Getting paid for doing work I love was just something I couldn’t resist. Sure there were the usual challenges like in any role, but I’ve truly enjoyed working in sport and learning from those in a truly innovative organisation.”

“There are  1.4 million women and girls playing netball every week during the season and England Netball has over 100,000 members, so the game is in a strong position.”The Chief Executive Joanna Adams proved a huge pillar of support and she has presided over a golden period of professionalisation in the sport.

Having delivered on his original mandate around strategy for match officials, Blacklock is using his vast experience to help create and deliver a digital strategy for netball but he sounds like a man ready to accept his next career challenge.

A non-executive position as technical director of Federation of International Lacrosse has proved great experience working at the top levels of the game, but it is the next full time executive position that is currently taxing his mind.

He signed up to VSI’s MSc in Sporting Directorship last September and believes securing the qualification could be the key factor in his next move.

“It is proving a fantastic experience in every respect,” he revealed. The academic learning is excellent and the guest speakers fascinating, but it is engaging with fellow members of the cohort that is really special.

“They are top people who excel in their own world and you can’t help but learn from them.”

Blacklock does not see himself perhaps directly stepping in to the Sporting Director’s position at a major sports club for example but sees himself equipped for a position in international sport.

“That is where I am aiming,” he says. ’It could be in any sport as I feel my skills and the skills acquired on the course are cross transferrable.”

For more information on the VSI MSc in Sporting Directorship contact:
Tel: 0345 459 9765