Hertfordshire Cheetahs Announce Impressive Additions to Coaching Staff

Following a highly successful 2018 campaign where they emerged as Division 2 South Champions, the Hertfordshire Cheetahs have announced a number of impressive additions to their coaching staff ahead of 2019.

Looking to have an immediate fast start to their time in the middle tier, the Cheetahs have added five members to their coaching roster, including a number of veteran ballers returning to the Cheetahs’ ranks:

  • Quarterbacks Coach - Nick Tilbury
  • Running Backs Coach - Roger Brown
  • Defensive Backs Coach - Mark Foster
  • Defensive Line Assistant Coach - Steve Taylor
  • Defensive Line Assistant Coach - Aatish Pattni

This swells the Cheetahs’ coaching staff to an enviable fourteen coaches, ensuring they’re well stocked with mentors as they return to Division One football.

Per HertfordshireCheetahs.com:

The Hertfordshire Cheetahs are delighted to announce their Senior Squad coaching staff ahead of the 2019 campaign, which includes some impressive additions.

Nick Tilbury QB at the Saxons

QB Coach – Nick Tilbury

Nick gained an interest in American Football after watching the Bears beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XX in 1986 and joined the Milton Keynes Junior Bucks two-touch team as a Defensive Back. Realising he had more fun playing offence he moved to wide receiver and occasionally played quarterback. Nick then moved to Northants to play contact American Football, before returning to the MK Pioneers senior team where they won the Division 2 Championship in 1994. Looking for a fresh challenge after a few years in Milton Keynes, Nick joined the Cheetahs for the first time achieving the most catches in the league in the 1997 Bowl game season, eventually losing to the Bristol Aztecs. Moving position to quarterback after continued knee trouble at receiver coincided with a move to the London Mets, before taking some time off to have his first child. Nick then joined the Cambridgeshire Cats and then the Peterborough Saxons before retiring from playing in 2013. Nick continued to coach at the Peterborough Saxons until they folded and Joined the Ouse Valley Eagles as QB Coach eventually stepping up to Offensive Co-ordinator and even one game as Head Coach. Nick re-joins the Cheetahs as QB coach for the 2019 season.

RB Coach – Roger Brown

Roger Brown returns to the club for the 2019 season after taking a year away from football due to personal reasons. Roger, formerly Offensive co-ordinator and Interim Head Coach of the Cheetahs will take on the role of Running Backs Coach. Roger began playing football in Texas in 1982 and after two seasons playing defensive end, returned to the UK and played for the Harlow Warlords, Collier Row Oilers, winning a championship at the Ashton Oilers and losing in the final against the London Capitals whilst playing for the Essex Buccaneers. Roger first coached at Collier Row, but focussed solely on coaching from 2010 for the Milton Keynes Pathfinders, first as OL coach before stepping up to HC and turning the team around within two years. Roger joined the Cheetahs in 2014 first as defensive co-ordinator, before moving across to the offensive side.

Roger Brown (c) Chris Coope

DB Coach – Mark Foster

Mark also returns to the Cheetahs after retiring from playing after the 2017 season. Mark started playing American Football at university for the Portsmouth Destroyers and whilst at university, played for the Southern Sun Devils and Hampshire Thrashers before returning home to play for the local (then Watford) Cheetahs. In 2011 Mark helped the Cheetahs to launch their first ever youth team having gained experience coaching for the Thrashers youth. After two seasons Mark returned to play at safety, helping the Cheetahs have the #1 ranked defence in the country in 2014. Mark continued to play for the Cheetahs as safety, wide receiver and quarterback, before hanging up the cleats in 2017.

Mark Foster Coaching the Youth Team (C) Deniz Karagulle

DL Assistant Coach – Steve Taylor 

Steve Taylor, formerly a Chiltern Cheetah, will aid Defensive Line Coach Lawrence Lamontagne for the upcoming season. Steve, a leader on and off the field was captain at all the clubs he played for in his 14 year playing career. He started playing for the Newmarket Hornets before moving to the London Barons and then Croydon Kings, where he also took up a defensive coaching position. Steve then moved to the Chiltern Cheetahs and played alongside other Cheetahs coaches, Rob Cardy, Russ Begbie, Gary Culleton and Ray Palmer at the London Mets whilst playing linebacker, defensive line, full back and offensive line.  This is Steve’s first full-time coaching position and his experience will be invaluable to a hungry and young Cheetahs defensive line as well as assisting Defensive Co-ordinator Ray Palmer.

DL Assistant Coach – Aatish Pattni

Also joining Steve as a Defensive Line Assistant is Aatish Pattni. Aatish started playing for the Birmingham Lions university team in 2002 and moved to the Reading Knights university team the following season. Returning home for the summer, Aatish played for the Chiltern Cheetahs as a defensive tackle and helped the Cheetahs to an undefeated regular season (10-0). Returning to the Birmingham Lions to finish his degree, Aatish was part of the team that completed their first ever-undefeated championship and then helped the Cheetahs make back-to-back bowl games. He continued to play for another 7 seasons as centre, d-lineman and was named defensive captain before retiring in 2012 to focus on coaching, aiding Mark Foster launch the youth and junior programmes. Aatish was Head Coach of the junior team, 2013 – 2015 and in 2017 Aatish returned for one more season to play for the Cheetahs before retiring for good and concentrating on coaching.

Aatish Pattni Coaching the Cheetahs Juniors (c) Deniz Karagulle

These new additions will ably assist the coaches returning from last year:

Head Coach – Craig Barnes

Offensive Co-ordinator and WR Coach – Will Sparke
Defensive Co-ordinator – Ray Palmer

QB Coach – Nick Tilbury
RB Coach – Roger Brown
OL Coach – Russ Begbie
OL Coach – Gary Culleton
DB Coach – Mark Foster
LB Coach – Rob Cardy
DL Coach – Lawrence Lamontagne
Strength and Conditioning Coach – Edward Valdez
LB Assistant Coach – Matt Bright
DL Assistant Coach – Steve Taylor
DL Assistant Coach – Aatish Pattni

Chairman Luke Clark said “I genuinely believe we have amassed one of the best coaching staff in the country for our senior programme. We have worked hard to get a full set of coaches for our players, to give them the best opportunity to perform against some tough Division One Opponents next year.”




Nick 'Willy Tee' Wilson-Town hails from the South West where he's spent the last decade bouncing around various teams at the university and senior level. He came to fame on the now departed unofficial forum thanks to his regularly irreverent Uniball predictions and general 'BUAFL wafflage'. Follow him on twitter @WillyTee1