The appointment of a professional coach, even though he will only be full-time for parts of the period up to the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, and the decision to dispense with Cotton have followed a reassessment of the sport's needs after the Barcelona Olympics.
Norman Hughes, the England and Britain coach, who was no doubt aware of some of the discussions taking place, recently resigned. That left the way open for Whitaker, 44, who also takes over the coaching of England's Under- 21 squad. In this capacity, he replaces Mike Hamilton, who had originally been appointed. Hamilton now reverts to England's full- time director of coaching.
Whitaker, who won 100 international caps, left hockey after the success in Seoul and worked for a company specialising in motivation, incentive and management development programmes.