Losing your job is never a good thing, but for sports coaches, that threat seems to be looming on a consistent basis.
Sport is a results-based employment so when things start to go awry, it usually follows with a sacking.
However, there is a way to do it, and these five examples are perhaps not the best method of doing so, especially when taking into account the previous success they had brought to their respective clubs.
Lee Radford – Hull FC
For a man that had guided his Hull FC side to back-to-back Challenge Cup successes in 2016 and 2017, to be sacked on live television perhaps took the biscuit for Lee Radford. Fair enough, results for the Airlie Birds had not been good enough for a few seasons and FC had just been embarrassed 38-4 by Warrington, but for chairman Adam Pearson to explain the reasoning behind releasing Radford live on Sky Sports after that result baffled viewers. Ruthless and brutal, many couldn’t believe what they had just seen.
Brian McDermott – Leeds Rhinos
The most successful Super League boss there has ever been, Brian McDermott had guided Leeds to four Grand Final wins, two Challenge Cup successes, a League Leaders’ Shield and a World Club Challenge in eight seasons. By July 2018, however, the Rhinos were floundering in eighth with four games remaining the regular season. Of course, the Super 8s were in motion that year so Leeds were once more flirting with relegation. However, for a coach that had won the Super League Grand Final the year previous, to be released at such a critical stage of the season was surprising.
Frank Endacott – Wigan Warriors
Few fans outside of Wigan may have heard of “Happy Frank” due to his short longevity at the Warriors. Endacott made the move to Lancashire after two seasons coaching the Auckland Warriors, initially on a one-year contract. It seemed a match made in heaven as the New Zealander took Wigan to the 2000 Super League Grand Final, winning the Minor Premiership and Super League’s Coach of the Year in the process. However, Endacott was sacked in 2001 after a string of bad results without being given much time to turn things around.
Shaun McRae – St Helens
For the first Super League season in 1996, Shaun McRae was handed the reins at St Helens, and, it proved a match made in heaven. The outspoken Aussie guided Saints to a title in 1996 as well as back-to-back Challenge Cup successes in ’96 and ’97. That moniker of ‘always the bridesmaid – never the bride’ was destroyed by McRae, so it was rather surprising that Saints looked to Ellery Hanley towards the back end of 1998, parting company with the Australian in the process. McRae later went on to coach Gateshead, Salford and Hull FC in Super League.
John Kear – Hull FC
He had guided Hull to a famous Challenge Cup victory in 2005 as well as a preliminary semi-final play-off spot in the same year, but John Kear was sacked by FC in April 2006 after losing four out of five games. Of course, Hull went on to appear in that year’s Grand Final under new boss Peter Sharp, but Kear had been given little time to try and rectify the downward dip in form. And, for a man that had guided Hull to a first Challenge Cup win since 1982, the end was rather humiliating.