“We have to be competitive from day one” says Newcastle Eagles play-caller Marc Steutel

By Jamie Thomas

The Newcastle Eagles wasted no time earlier in the
off-season in acquiring their newest Head Coach, and it was an announcement
that was met with much adulation as the Tyneside club appointed one of the most
exciting young coaches in the game, Marc Steutel, to the role.

Having excelled in his coaching career across various levels
of the game in several roles – including most recently as Acting Head Coach for
the Great Britain Men’s National Team – Steutel comes into the role with high expectations
placed on him. We caught up with him recently to find out more about how
excited he is for the challenge of leading the Eagles back up the table.

“Because of the heritage and the history of the club, when
that first tip-off takes place at the start of the season we’re going to be
expected to perform and to at least be one of the best teams, if not the
best, but that is what I signed up for and I was keen to take on that challenge.

“Last year was one season out of however many for as long as
I can remember where the club has underachieved, so everybody involved with
this club – from the people behind the scenes to the fans and everybody else – are
expecting to win and that’s where we all want to be.

“We have to be competitive from day one and that is the
plan. The BBL is incredibly tough and the last year in particular has really
shown that everybody from second to ninth was capable of beating everybody on
any given night. When you join the Eagles, you’re expected to win and me and my
players won’t be shying away from that.”

“It is our job to put a team together that plays the
right way.”

Steutel has already helped mastermind a few famous nights at
the Vertu Motors Arena in his coaching career, no less so than in the last
couple of years where he has led the GB team to historic victories over Germany
and Greece in qualifying action for FIBA EuroBasket and the 2023 World Cup.

An avid supporter of the club as well over many years, he
knows only too well how passionate the Eagles faithful are and Steutel spoke of
his excitement of coaching at the highest level in the country with the support
of such a passionate fanbase.

“Having coached at the Vertu Motors Arena in a Great Britain
capacity, the facility is amazing and you can see why it is one of the premier
venues in the country, but more importantly what sets it and the club apart is
the support the team has behind the scenes and from the fans.

“I’ve obviously been fortunate enough to coach the GB senior
team there twice against Germany and Greece, securing two huge results, so
they’re very fond memories for me and I’m hoping to make a few more this season
in front of such a great crowd.

“Basketball is loved in the north-east and I’m so excited to
meet the fans and see them get behind the team as strongly as they always have
done. It is our job now to put a team together that plays the right way and can
achieve something special for Newcastle.”

“We’ll work for as long as we can to get the right
players in.”

Whilst no signings have been announced yet by the Eagles,
work is well underway behind the scenes to build a roster that the club hopes
will match their ambitions and ensure last year’s disappointing campaign
becomes a distant memory very quickly.

Steutel discussed what he is hoping to develop in terms of
the identity of his roster and what fans can expect to see from their team in
terms of style of play on the court.

“Looking at teams that have been successful in the BBL over
the years, they’ve all had a clear identity and good balance throughout the
roster, so that is what we’ve got to strive for. We need to recruit correctly,
which this club has experience in doing so well, and I want to build a team
that excels defensively – that’s something I’ve always prided myself on with my

“I don’t think it is any secret that this is where the team
perhaps weren’t as effective as they could be last year, so this year that’s
certainly a focus for me to recruit guys that can play on the defensive end in
the way I want them to, where we’re dogged, we’re tough, we’re gritty, and
people hate coming into the arena to play us.

“We’re working together now behind the scenes to get that
recruitment underway and we’re hoping to announce some signings sooner rather
than later, for sure, but we’ll work for as long as we can to get the right
players in to play the basketball we want to play.”

“I’m excited to test myself, my team and my staff
against the best.”

With this being his first experience as a Head Coach at BBL
level and going up against some fantastic tacticians and players on a nightly
basis, the new Eagles Head Coach knows there will be some bumps in the road as
he and his squad look to tackle the challenges that lay ahead of them this
season, but Steutel detailed why he won’t be shying away from those challenges.

“I absolutely love competition and that is one of the main
drivers behind me coming here. I love working with people, developing
relationships and building a team to test ourselves against the best.

“I have worked tirelessly to put myself in this position and
coached at every level to build towards this, so I’m excited to be here now and
test myself, my team and my staff against the best there is in this country.

“There are going to be some tough moments, that is
basketball, but I am confident that the experiences I’ve gathered up to now
will ensure I am receptive in this process of building this team and that I’ll
be able to adjust and amend things as we need to for us to be the best we can

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