Bob Reeves – Former RFU President and Founder of the Foundation for Leadership through Sport

July 6, 2020

PE Teacher to President of the RFU: This is an amazing and insightful conversation that includes stories of Norman Hunter, Bill Shankly and some modern-day Rugby Union icons including Eddie Jones and Maro Itoje.

Bob has a wealth of experience from many aspects of sport. His desire to help others and to make a difference makes this a must listen to podcast. You will definitely take something from it!

Bob is the Founder/Director of the charity, the Foundation for Leadership through Sport (FLS) whose aim is to develop understanding of and capability in leadership in, of and through sport.

Bob began as a teacher of physical education and ended as Director of Sport, Exercise and Health at the University of Bristol, a post he held for many years. He introduced the first Masters course in the United Kingdom in Exercise and Health Sciences. He also ran a teacher training course for graduate students..

Bob established a pioneering high performance programme, enabling students with academic and sporting talent to fulfil their potential in both. Many went on to achievie the highest International success while still obtaining good honours degrees from one of the world’s leading academic institutions.

Bob was an early influence in the National Coaching Foundation (now Sports Coach UK) and at that time focused on psychological aspects of sporting performance and sports coaching. He was the only person to be a staff coach of the RFU and the MCC. He coached the University Rugby Club for over 25 years, also having periods coaching Bristol Rugby Club and the England Students XV.

He represented the Student game on the RFU full committee, where he was commissioned to produce the first report on the development of the elite game in England. Having been a member of several of the leading committees on the RFU, he became the President of the Union in 2013/14.

He has been awarded two Honorary doctorates for services to sport and higher education.

Bob now focuses on his work with FLS, organising workshops and conferences, in association with leaders from sport, business and the military. Of particular interest are the creation of organisational culture for sustained success and coaching sport to develop leaders. Bob continues to mentor and advise a number of sportsmen and women as well as speaking to students in schools and higher education, and acting as a coaching consultant.        

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Success Quote or sayings:

  • Do things you really enjoy
  • The Best talent doesn’t always have the most success
  • Show them you are interested in them as people
  • All disappointments should lead to learning


Quick fire questions:

The books that you would recommend are?

Consiglieri: Leading from the Shadows by Richard Hytner

Turn The Ship Around!: A True Story of Building Leaders by Breaking the Rules by L. David Marquet


Good To Great Hardcover by Jim Collins


How the mighty fall by Jim Collins


Leading by Sir Alex Ferguson


How do I prepare to be the best version of myself…

Half hour every day routine of exercises to keep in good condition

Do things that I enjoy


If I won the lottery I would spend my money…

Continue to support schools and individuals in Kenya – like I already do.


In one sentence – What advice would you give to your teenage version of yourself?

Do the best you can, do what you enjoy and find a way to help other people.


Who has made a big impact on you?

My PE Teachers at school who fostered my love for team games.

My Uncle Frank – who was my reason for attending Loughborough University

Whos’ Sport Story would you be really interested in hearing?

Tom Mitchell – Rugby 7’s

Eboni Usoro-Brown – England Netball



Coaching questions I would like to pose:


How could you turn what is proving difficult at the moment to your advantage?


What small life event has made the biggest impact on your life or career to date and how?


Contact info:




Bob Reeves

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