CASTLEFORD Tigers have confirmed the appointment of Ian Millward as their new head coach from next season on a three-year deal.
The 51-year-old former St Helens and Wigan boss has been given the job of succeeding Terry Matterson, who is leaving the Tigers at the end of the season after six years at the Yorkshire club to return home with his family to Australia.
Castleford chief executive Richard Wright (pictured) said: “We have been very impressed with Ian and his approach to the task and challenge of taking the Tigers to the next level.
“His CV speaks volumes. He is constantly monitoring new developments and techniques in both the English and Australian games and has ideal contacts in terms of sports science which is becoming increasingly important.
“With Ian we will have a coach that has repeatedly shown his ability to win big games, whilst also developing young players which is a key element to his task here.
“He has matured as a coach in recent years and has been handed a number of promising junior players on dual contracts from top coaches in Super League in his time at Leigh and developed them into better players, including our own Jake Emmitt.
“I’m thrilled that Ian will be joining us to take up the challenge of taking the Tigers to the next level.”
Millward has been out of Super League since being sacked by Wigan in 2006 but has spent the last two years turning around the fortunes of Championship club Leigh and last month guided them to victory in the Northern Rail Cup.
“I’ve really enjoyed my role at Leigh,” he said. “They are a good club and I’m proud of all I have achieved there.
“I returned to the English game via three years in the NRL and came back for family reasons. I’ve since been able to assess what is compatible from the NRL for Super League. I’ve also done my high performance coaching level four in this time.
“When Castleford spoke to me I could see some of my attributes are compatible with the club. I was really impressed with the board’s honesty and long-term vision and I’m really looking forward to the exciting challenge ahead.
“Castleford is a club that is evolving off the pitch with great plans for the future. On the pitch they have a squad that is underpinned with young talent and I’m looking forward to helping them improve further.
“I respect the job Terry has done over a long period of time. He has done fantastically well this season. I’m looking forward to continuing the development of the team and progressing it further over the next three years.”
Millward began his head coaching career at Leigh in 1998 and, after being recruited by St Helens two years later to take over from Ellery Hanley, he enjoyed five straight years of success at Knowsley Road, guiding Saints to two Grand-Final triumphs and success in the Challenge Cup in 2001 and 2004 as well as the World Club Challenge.
Sacked by St Helens in May 2005 for misconduct, he was sensationally appointed as Wigan coach a fortnight later but lasted less than a year in the job after failing to arrest the club’s slump.
Millward returned to Australia, where held coaching positions at North Queensland and Canberra, before taking up a third stint at Leigh, with whom he intends to retain contact.
Leigh’s acting chairman Keith Freer said: “We are in the process of developing many new projects and Ian has been involved with and supportive of all of them and will continue to support all these new initiatives.
“We have had preliminary discussions with Castleford with regards forming a partnership involving the dual registration of young Tigers starlets gaining first team experience with Leigh.”