Long-serving coach Richard Cooper has been promoted to the position of academy manager, we are pleased to announce.
The 39-year-old replaces John Dempster in the role after his appointment as first team manager earlier this month.
The former Nottingham Forest player joined the Stags’ backroom staff in July 2012 as first team coach under then-manager Paul Cox, helping the club to the Blue Square Bet Premier title.
Cooper also worked in the same position under former manager Adam Murray before accepting a new role as senior professional development coach with the U21s in November 2016.
The well-respected coach will be responsible for the club’s highly-acclaimed academy, which has 300 players on its books, aged from under sevens to under 21s.
“I’m honoured and excited to be named as the academy manager of Mansfield Town Football Club,” said Cooper.
“As an academy, we are now striving towards category three status, which would upgrade the academy for the start of the 2020-21 season, under the criteria and guidelines of the EFL."
“I would like to thank the chairman, (John Radford), chief executive (Carolyn Radford), Mark Hawkins (academy director) and all other board members for this opportunity to evolve the academy.
“I am taking over an academy which is already performing beyond all expectations.
“The gaffer (John Dempster), along with the directors and current staff, has built the academy from scratch, to a level which is well-admired in professional football circles.
“The academy has made massive strides during the past four seasons and we are extremely proud of our achievements to date, which include the under 18s winning three league titles and significant progress in the FA Youth Cup.
“Thanks to the previous management, the link between the first team and academy was strengthened last season, which gave a clear pathway from the academy to the senior side, giving our young players the opportunity to be within the senior set-up, subject to their performances. This is something we have strived for and which we will endeavour to evolve even further.
“I have inherited a great staff who share my passion for the football club and want to move the academy forward.
“As an academy, we are now striving towards category three status, which would upgrade the academy for the start of the 2020-21 season, under the criteria and guidelines of the EFL.
“This will be a great opportunity for the football club as well as the young people of Mansfield. The club’s new training ground, the RH Academy, is integral to this vision as the facilities are of a first-class standard.
“I have the total support of the board of directors who will assist me in leading this ambition and I looking forward to this new challenge within a club which is on the up in all areas.”