Toronto Wolfpack have confirmed that Paul Rowley has left his position as the club’s head coach.
Rowley, 43, led the Canadian side to the League 1 title in their first season in existence, but they missed out on promotion to Super League by losing in the Million Pound Game to London Broncos last month.
Former Leeds coach Brian McDermott, who has also previously coached the USA national team, is being heavily linked with the role.
In a statement, Toronto confirmed that they had agreed a mutual release from the remainder of Rowley’s contract.
Director of Rugby, Brian Noble, said: “Paul mentioned earlier in the season that he would like to review his position at the end of the 2018 season, the date when his original contract was due to end. This role is one of the most challenging jobs in sport not only due to the on field pressures, where Paul has been hugely successful, but also in leading a transatlantic team treading new ground in the world of sport.
“Paul has played a huge role in an extremely successful 2 year period, winning promotion to the Championship and going agonisingly close to an unprecedented back to back promotion to Super League. He leaves the Wolfpack with an incredible 53-3-7 record over his tenure. We are sorry to see him leave but respect Paul’s wishes that now may be a good time for a change of leadership so that the Wolfpack can redouble our efforts to achieve Super League status in 2019.”
After five years in charge at his hometown club Leigh which included back-to-back Championship titles, Rowley was appointed Toronto’s first ever coach ahead of them joining League 1 in 2017.
They romped to the title in that season and were similarly dominant in the Championship last season, losing just twice, but critically they would be beaten by London in the decisive MPG, having won five of seven games in The Qualifiers, the most any team has ever won in the series and not earned automatic promotion.
Rowley said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Wolfpack, it has been a unique experience for me and I feel the Club has been a breath of fresh air for our game as a whole. I have been considering my position throughout the season as this is not just any coaching job, and I feel now is the right time for myself and the Club to make a change.
“I really do hope the Club build on the last 2 years and achieve Super League status in 2019, I for one will remain a committed supporter of the Wolfpack and intend to follow the team closely moving forwards.
“I would like to thank the Wolfpack and the team’s remarkable supporters on both sides of the Atlantic, who have always made me feel extremely welcome, and look forward to meeting up in the future.”