England: David ‘Tex’ Lane

England Hockey was very saddened to hear that hockey stalwart David ‘Tex’ Lane passed away last weekend at the age of 62. Tex was best known to many through his contribution to umpiring at all levels of the game, as well as through his creation of the ‘Tex Solutions’ web system.

In his early days playing in Gloucester and the West, Tex often made life difficult for umpires, so it came as a surprise to many when he announced he was going to take up umpiring. He umpired in Hampshire and the South for many years, including regularly until the start of this season when he became unwell.

Richard Wood, Chair of South Central Adult Leagues commented: “We are proud that Tex was involved in Hampshire for over 20 years, providing the superb IT system that is still in use today. His knowledge of hockey at all levels was shared with many in Hampshire and it was a pleasure to be on the other side of the pitch umpiring with him. A great man and a friend, who will be really missed.”

When the Hockey Association folded in 2002 and umpiring at national level was without leadership, Tex played a pivotal role in the formation of the National Programme Umpiring Association (NPUA). As Secretary in the association’s early days, Tex identified the need for an IT system to support the volunteers that were running umpiring associations around the country. It’s from here that the renowned ‘Tex Solutions’ web system was created, which became a vital tool for leagues and umpiring associations around the world.   

Paul Box-Grainger, Chairman of NPUA in its early years commented: “What he created was much more than simply the first online appointing system. It provided NPUA with astonishingly sophisticated access to every element of its activity, from coaching and assessment reports to club scores to detailed financial monitoring – and was therefore the bedrock of the paradigm shift on which NPUA was able to embark.”

Tex was a hugely respected umpire by players, coaches and colleagues. He became the first NPUA umpire to reach the milestone of 300 national league matches, and to this day remains in the top 5 of most capped NPUA umpires.

Tex went on to have a highly successful career as a coach and umpire manager, both domestically and internationally. He was also instrumental in fashioning NPUA’s vision for a modern approach to umpire development, encouraging soft skills as a vital part of the umpiring skillset.

He played a leading role in the development of the national young umpire programme, providing expert guidance and support to many young people who have gone on to perform at the very top of the game. Internationally he represented England as an Umpire Manager at various Euro Hockey events, both indoor and outdoor.

Indoor hockey was one of Tex’s real passions. He served as NPUA’s Chair of Indoor Selectors for many years during a spell of huge success for England’s indoor umpires.

A highly respected umpire and umpire manager, a pioneering administrator and above all a brilliant man; Tex will be hugely missed throughout the hockey community.  Further details regarding a celebration of Tex’s life and contribution to the hockey community will be published once known.

by England Hockeyl

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