With Shaun Wane’s surprise announcement which will see him leave Wigan at the end of the current season, here are six potential replacements for the Warriors.
Shaun Edwards OBE
Arguably the most-mentioned name to replace Wane, Shaun Edwards could make his return to the club where his career began.
The current Wales assistant coach made his debut in 1983 against York at the age of just 17, and became one of rugby league’s most decorated players.
The scrum-half represented Great Britain 36 times, including three World Cups, and made over 450 appearances for the Warriors. The now-international defensive coach has 37 winners medals, and became the 25h person introduced to Rugby League’s Hall of Fame in 2015.
In his coaching career, he has helped Wales with Grand Slam successes in 2008 and 2012 as well the RBS Six Nations title in 2013 and was named Rugby World International Coach of the Year in 2008.
Could Edwards be the man to fill the legacy left by Wane?
Australian-born Tony Smith left his role with the Warrington Wolves at the end of the 2017 season after a long nine-year career at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, leaving as the league’s longest serving coach.
The former England coach, who led the international side to a semi-final in 2008’s World Cup, joined Warrington from 2009 and led the side to three Grand Final appearances, two Challenge Cup victories and their first League Leader’s Shield in the Super League era in 2011.
There is no doubting the success Tony Smith brought to the Wire, and a role at Wigan may be exactly what the 51-year-old needs to be attracted back to rugby league.
Former South Sydney Rabbitohs coach was a fans favourite in his time at the DW, despite only taking charge of the side for two seasons.
The Aussie coach led Wigan to their first League Leader’s shield in 10 years in 2010, as well as their first Super League Grand Final victory in over 10 years in the same season.
Maguire was named coach of the year in 2010, and in 2011 announced he would be leaving the side to return to Australia to coach Russell Crowe’s South Sydney Rabbitohs, but not before lifting the Challenge Cup title in 2011 against Leeds Rhinos.
The 44-year-old was recently appointed head coach of New Zealand on the international scene, but that leaves room for him to return to the Warriors where his former assistant coach has left the spot for someone to fill.
Current Widnes Vikings head coach Denis Betts has been another name floating around to be taking over the role at 2016’s Super League champions.
Betts has struggled in recent form at the Vikings, with no help from injuries as the curse for his side continues. However, joining a new club with a fresh start may be exactly what the former player needs.
The Salford-born man began his coaching career at Wigan, coaching the under-18s side before moving onto the under-21s, which he led to victory in the 2003 under 21-s Grand Final.
Betts was also appointed assistant coach to Wayne Bennett for England, helping them to a 2017 World Cup appearance, losing to Mal Meninga’s Australia. However, it was announced earlier this year that he has stepped fown from this role.
Could a new club be exactly what Betts needs?
When looking for a new head coach, maybe the Warriors will look a little closer to home.
John Winder has been assistant coach to Shaun Wane since 2016, previously holding the title of ‘Junior Assistant Coach’.
Winder joined the Warriors coaching staff in 2011, following a three-year stint at Melbourne Storm. He was named of Head of Youth, and also guided Wigan’s under-19’s to Grand Final success in 2013.
He also took over the side last season in their trip to Perpignan to face Catalans Dragons, with coach Shaun Wane recovering from a hip operation.
Will the Warriors promote the successful-assistant to full-time head coach?
Last but not least, a potential return for Iestyn Harris?
The former Wigan Warriors assistant coach left his role at the side to take charge of Salford Red Devils in 2014, taking over from Brian Noble.
Harris had previously taken lead of international side Wales in 2008, whilst still playing for Bradford Bulls.
The former utility-back has not coached a side since being sacked by the Devils in 2015, and is often seen on BBC’S Super League Show, analysing highlights from the week’s action.
With his past experience with the Warriors and knowing how the side works, this could be the chance for the 41-year-old to return to the coaching scene.
Who do you think will replace Shaun Wane as head coach of Wigan? Let us know in the comments below.