Severn Stars is delighted to announce the appointment of experienced Superleague player, Jo Trip, as its new Head Coach.

Trip, who retired from playing at the end of the 2020/2021 season, will take charge of the Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) side as it prepares for the 2022/2023 campaign. She takes over from Melissa Bessell, who recently announced she was stepping down from the role and returning to New Zealand for family reasons.

“I’m delighted to be appointed Head Coach of Severn Stars and take them into a new era of netball,” said Trip. “The vision the University of Worcester franchise has for its future, the facilities and support staff already in place for players coupled with the sense of community evident here, easily made it an opportunity I couldn’t turn down. There has been a huge amount of growth in the playing level within the VNSL over the past seven years of my involvement, and I’m excited to now apply my experience and lessons learnt as a player in this new role. Being appointed Head Coach for the franchise has reignited an intense passion for netball and set a fire in my belly! I’m already very excited by the quality of players being attracted to Severn Stars.”

Trip’s netball career began in her native New Zealand, playing for ANZ Championship sides Mainland Tactix and Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic. She also represented her country at Under 21 level and New Zealand A team level. The defensive player then moved to the UK, playing for Loughborough Lightning for two seasons from 2016, before moving on to Surrey Storm. She finished her 12-year elite playing career at Saracens Mavericks in 2021. 

Trip spent last season working as a technical coach with Loughborough Lightning, alongside her Director of Netball role at Samuel Whitbread Academy in Bedfordshire. The Academy was extremely supportive of Trip’s ambition to progress as an elite netball coach and has wished her every success going forward.  

She has been hard at work and is already putting a strong team together for the upcoming season. Trip will also be involved in the Severn Stars Pathway programme to nurture young talent across the region, working alongside the new Franchise Pathway Lead to ensure all coaches and players are provided with the opportunity to develop.

The Club, which has been a joint franchise since its launch in 2017, will be taken forward solely by the University of Worcester after co-owner University of Gloucestershire announced its withdrawal at the end of the 2022 season. 

Mick Donovan, Pro Vice Chancellor (partnerships) at the University of Worcester and Director of the Stars, said: “We are thrilled that Jo has come on board with Severn Stars. We were impressed with her vision for the future of the side and know her vast experience in the Superleague and beyond will prove invaluable in this role and in fulfilling our ambitions for the team. She has hit the ground running and is already pulling together a team for the 2023 Vitality Netball Superleague season, which we will be announcing over the coming months. In addition, we believe she is a perfect fit for us as she understands the importance of the University of Worcester’s links to the Superleague side. She is keen to build relationships that strengthen the Severn Stars programme and is also committed, like we are to developing the talent of the future through the Stars Pathway.”