It was announced late last night that Keighley Cougars would be parting ways with their head coach Rhys Lovegrove.
The decision seemed to come out of the blue given the obvious strides the side have made in recent years and the fact Lovegrove at just 36 and with four years experience is a very promising coach.
Keighley announced the news via their Facebook page with comments from both Lovegrove and their CEO Ryan O’Neill.
O’Neill said: “We would like to thank Rhys for his commitment and service to the club and it is disappointing that results have not reflected the hard work and commitment that he has undoubtedly shown. He leaves with our very best wishes.”
Rhys Lovegrove said: “Having been at the club 4 years it has been a honour and privilege to lead the club as head coach. I would like to thank the performance staff, some often going above and beyond, and the players and I wish all concerned the very best for the future.”
Having been invincible in League One in 2022 the Cougars have obviously lost more games this season than they were used to but they sit ninth in the Championship with five wins and having beaten the likes of York and Bradford.
The decision was received by a range of emotions and opinions from fans, some clearly confused whilst others backed the process given how far it’s got them so far.
One fan went as far as to say that it was one their “lowest feelings” in 40 years of fandom.
Others called it an “awful decision” and questioned “what the hell is happening at the club?”
“Shocked and very disappointed” was how another fan reacted but others did call for calm, and referenced the club’s upcoming Q and A as a method of understanding what’s going on.
“Supporters should wait and see who is his replacement before criticising too much,” one fan added.
“The recent IMG decision appears to have triggered a lot a strange events down at Cougar Park. The question and answer session needs to come very soon.”
The topic of IMG was alluded to by others who questioned if this signalled a change in direction given on-field performance no longer being the only method of promotion.
“With the new stand coming, we clearly want to build as a club so I’d love to see a 5 year plan. Maybe this is a way of resetting and starting that plan, as IMG has surely put on field ambitions on the back burner, I don’t know. I look forward to the Q&A.”
The club have outlined that for the time being assistant Coach and Jamaica International, Jy-mel Coleman will take over as head coach on an interim basis with the support of Jordie Hedges, Dean Muir and Jake Webster who steps up as Director of Rugby