Rovers appoint Hay as new head coach on two-year contract

Andy Hay has been appointed on a two-year contract.
Andy Hay has been appointed on a two-year contract.

Featherstone Rovers tonight unveiled Andy Hay as their new head coach.

Hay, who has been assistant coach at Castleford, Hull and Salford, has been appointed on a two-year contract and will be in charge for the first time at Sunday’s home Championship game against Workington Town.

He succeeds John Bastian who left last week after being in charge for only 11 competitive matches.

Hay said: “I am looking forward to the challenge of being head coach of a club like Featherstone Rovers.

“It has a fantastic history and tradition which I’m well aware of. The club has come on leaps and bounds over the last few years, the stadium redevelopments are progressing well and this Centre of Excellence is one of the best I’ve seen.

“A competitive squad has been established and all the ingredients are there for the club to kick on. The new competition structures that are coming in place from next year present a great opportunity for Featherstone Rovers and I cannot wait to get started and lead us through an exciting chapter for the club.”

Former Great Britain international Hay had a successful playing career spanning 15 years with Sheffield Eagles, Castleford Tigers, Leeds Rhinos and Widnes Vikings.

He made his first move into coaching as academy coach at Castleford Tigers for 12 months before being promoted to assistant first team coach under head coach Terry Matterson in 2006.

In 2011, Hay joined Hull FC as assistant to Peter Gentle. Following two years at Hull FC, he joined Salford Red Devils as assistant to Brian Noble and most recently assisted former Rovers player Iestyn Harris.

Hay is part of the RFL elite coaches programme and visited Australia in 2012 where he spent time at Sydney Roosters, West Tigers and South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Rovers Chairman Mark Campbell said: “I’m absolutely delighted to welcome Andy to the “Fev Family” and relish working with him on strengthening our squad with the new league structures in mind.

“I’m confident with Andy’s knowledge of players throughout Super League we will continue to improve the squad to meet the next challenge of the relegated teams from Super League which I’m sure we are all looking forward to.

“We have an excellent squad at the moment which was demonstrated last weekend with a fantastic win away at the current champions and I’ll like to put on record just how lucky we are to have such an outstanding coach in Danny Evans who we all know is Featherstone through and through. He just gets on with the job in hand and it was even more pleasing to see such a turnout of the Capper Army at Sheffield Eagles especially after two disappointing results against Leigh Centurions. I know how much Danny and the players appreciate the great support they get on match days.

“I feel it’s going to be an exciting ride from now until the end of the season and the fantastic result achieved at Sheffield Eagles by Danny and the lads was what we as a group talked about last Monday.

“We all said that Featherstone Rovers season starts now! Now we have beaten Sheffield Eagles, we can go till the end of the season unbeaten and beat Leigh. I know this is Andy’s goal and with the boards backing and your fantastic support together we can turn our disappointing start to 2014 into a thriller

Featherstone’s majority shareholder Feisal Nahaboo said: “I’m really excited that we have got our man. Andy has worked alongside some quality coaches over the last five years and observed and learnt their best attributes.

“He is a well-rounded individual who is used to working with Super League quality players and getting the best out of the players at his disposal and that is something that ticked a lot of boxes for us.

“Andy is chomping at the bit to be a head coach and we feel he is our ideal man. As a player Andy was a winner and competitive player and this character shows through.

“He is technically very astute, he wishes to play not only a winning brand of rugby but also an entertaining brand of rugby which will excite supporters. It was a unanimous decision to appoint Andy and he was impressed what the club has to offer. The Centre of Excellence shows our commitment to the long term development of players at the club as well as the fantastic work our volunteers led by Paul Coventry are doing on the Railway End of the ground.

“He interviewed very well and is very enthusiastic about his future. Like all of us at Featherstone Rovers, he is an ambitious man and is fully focused on winning games and returning us to the top echelons where we belong. He will be given the investment which will be substantial to mould the squad he wants to complement the excellent facilities we have at Featherstone Rovers. Supporters must unite as one and support Andy and the squad for the rest of 2014.”