Karen Atkinson named Loughborough Lightning coach

Karen Atkinson coaching Hertfordshire Mavericks
Atkinson (centre) has spent the last eight years with Hertfordshire Mavericks

Karen Atkinson has returned to Loughborough Lightning as head coach for the 2015 Superleague season.

The 36-year-old former England international played for Lightning in 2006 before leaving to join Hertfordshire Mavericks.

She went on to coach the Mavericks after retiring from playing and guided the two-time Superleague winners to the play-off semi-finals last season.

Loughborough failed to win a game last season under former boss Marg Foster.

Atkinson said: "I am extremely grateful to have spent the last eight years playing and coaching at Hertfordshire Mavericks, the opportunities it has given me and the fantastic people I have been able to work with.

"However, it feels fitting to come back to Loughborough where I started my Superleague career and I am excited about the new challenges it will bring."

Karen Atkinson playing for England
Atkinson earned 122 England caps during her playing career

Atkinson made 122 appearances for her country, making her the second most-capped player in English history, and received an MBE in the 2014 New Year Honours list for services to netball.

She won three Commonwealth Games bronze medals in 1998, 2006 and 2010, and two World Championship Bronze medals in 1999 and 2011.