The FA is to dedicate one of its St. George’s Park pitches in memory of Jon Gittens. Gittens, who passed away aged 55 on 10 May 2019, has been described as a role model for his commitment to furthering English coach education. In particular, his pioneering work as a black FA coach educator inspiring the BAME coaching community to achieve more in the game.
Fittingly as The FA marks Black History Month across October, pitch 7a at the national football centre will be renamed, with his wife Jayne describing it as “an honour for Jon to be remembered in this way”. A special service is due to be held at the Staffordshire site in the New Year once circumstances allow.
Gittens had worked as a full-time coach educator for The FA since 2012, having originally been involved in delivering FA coaching courses in both the grassroots and professional game. Previously, as a defender he represented Swindon, Southampton, Middlesbrough, Portsmouth, Torquay and Exeter during a 15-year professional playing career.
Steve Smithies, FA national coach development (Diversity & Inclusion) lead, said: “Jon was a genuine role model and a trusted friend, mentor and colleague. He inspired and led the way for a new generation of black and Asian coaches, mentors and coach educators.
“Jon was a very committed person, had a passion for coach development and a passion for excellence. During that time, he positively influenced thousands of coaches. Jon always had time for people and was always happy to offer advice, support and guidance to anyone who needed it. He is remembered by his friends and colleagues as an authentic and inspirational leader.”