Everyone at Hemel Storm would like to express our extreme thanks and best wishes to departing Head Coach Dru Spinks. Spinks has been a key cog in the Hemel wheel for the last 4 years after his arrival and his journey with the Storm was capped off in fine style with a quartet of trophies and an unbeaten final season.
Dru joined as a familiar face to Hemel fans after his memorable 3 year playing stint with the club from 2011-2014 where he helped us achieve promotion to Division 1 and claimed a piece of silverware with the Patrons’ Cup. He was known for his energy, commitment and dedication to giving everything on the court and those values certainly transferred to his coaching career. His first year began positively with a fourth-placed finish, despite covid curtailing the season short and stopping Spinks’ side competing in the annual playoff competition. When the sport re-commenced behind closed doors in a unique, covid-affected season in 2020/21, despite the team losing their 6th man in their fan following, Spinks still managed to lead the side to Manchester for the playoff finals where they were left heartbroken in losing to formidable, seemingly unbeatable opponents Team Solent Kestrels.
Storm and Spinks were forced to shake off the final defeat and try to learn from their loss as fans returned to the StormDome for the 2021/22 season. Some classic clashes unfurled including a nerve-jangling playoff quarter-final win away at Derby and a satisfying semi-final win at local rivals Thames Valley Cavaliers, before the Storm once more found themselves in Manchester against the Kestrels, where Spinks’ side fell an agonizing 2 points short of glory.
But these close misses were just building blocks in Dru’s Storm journey and the story found its fairytale ending in the most recent 22/23 season where Dru’s passion and energy combined with tactical masterclass led his side to unbeaten glory and secured 4 more trophies for the cabinet, as Manchester-woes were finally subdued with a 6 point win over Worthing Thunder. Spinks sent out his troops in a fine, focused fashion and they managed to deliver his messages and hard-work to give the fans a season of astonishing basketball, and 41 fabulous wins for us to enjoy.
Dru was truly respected by all that were fortunate enough to be coached by him and his dedication was unmatched, constantly striving for perfection and settling for nothing else. Dru was and remains a firm part of the Storm family and his love for the club is clear to see in everything he does and we hope we will see much more of Spinks as a keen spectator to see what his club can accomplish in the years to come.
Thank you, Dru, for 4 years of fun, many lessons from which we have all learnt from and for elevating our club to the fantastic place that it sits today. We truly couldn’t have done it without you.
Written by Callum Humphrey
Photos by Luke Simcock