Wane to step down as Wigan coach
Shaun Wane will step down as Wigan coach at the end of the season.
He has told the club he will not be extending his stay as head coach.
He says he felt it was time for a “change of direction” in his career. Wigan say they will not rush into appointing a successor.
Wane said: “Regrettably I have decided to announce my resignation as head coach of Wigan Warriors with the 2018 season being my last in charge.
“Throughout my playing and coaching career I have enjoyed unparalleled success in all areas.
“The town of Wigan and the club will always remain special to me however I feel that now is the right time for me to seek a new challenge and direction in my professional career. As Head Coach, I have taken the Club to six major finals, winning three, given debuts to 37 players from the Wigan Academy and won a World Club Challenge, to name but a few.
“These accolades have given me both personal and professional satisfaction and the memories will remain with me evermore.
“During my career, I have made many special friends with players, past and present, coaching staff, office staff and management and I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to you all for the support that you have afforded me, without which the success may not have been so great.
“I would also like to publicly express my sincere thanks for the incredible support from my wife Lorraine and my daughters Bethan and Megan throughout my whole career, which at times has been incredibly difficult both on and off the field, especially the last two years.
“On a final point, I would like to thank all of the players, coaching and medical staff, the loyal Wigan fans, Club Chairman, Ian Lenagan, Club Director Kris Radlinski and Head of Performance, Mark Bitcon for helping me achieve a truly memorable and successful 30 years.
“I have one last task to complete and that is to bring home as much silverware as possible this season.”
Rumours have been simmering for weeks linking Wane with Catalans for next season - either as a replacement for Steve McNamara, or to work alongside him.
It was unclear whether there was substance to that link or whether his name was put forward because Sam Tomkins is joining ex-Warrior Micky McIlorum at the Dragons next year.
Confirmation of his exit will intensify speculation over his future.
He has also been linked with a move onto the Scotland RU coaching staff, and he has previously spoken of his ambition to work in the NRL.
The timing of his announcement may catch some by surprise.
Their 38-10 win against Warrington on Saturday was their seventh straight win and they are well-placed for a three-pronged silverware assault this year.
Wane succeeded Michael Maguire in 2012 and guided Wigan to the league leaders’ shield in his first season.
He won the Challenge Cup and Grand Final double the following year, and guided Wigan to the Grand Final in both 2014 and ‘15 before winning the Super League title again in ‘16.
Last year, he took the Warriors to Wembley and also masterminded arguably his greatest triumph - the World Club Challenge victory against Cronulla.
He is Wigan’s longest-serving coach of the Super League era and the 5th longest-serving Wigan coach of all time.
Chairman Ian Lenagan said: “Shaun Wane will leave Wigan Rugby League Club in the knowledge that his place in Wigan’s history is guaranteed. I feel certain that his decision to leave will have been a difficult one but he is a winner who wants to advance his career and challenge himself further on a different stage, having won everything with Wigan.
“He has developed from being a tough and uncompromising Rugby League prop in his playing days to become an equally tough and uncompromising Head Coach but with exceptional technical, tactical and player-motivational skills and a fearsome winning mentality.
“He has provided Wigan Rugby League Club with some memorable moments in the past six years and I have thoroughly enjoyed the journey that we have been on together. I have immense respect and admiration for Shaun as a Coach and would be delighted to see him sign off his seventh year as Wigan Head Coach with yet more trophies.
“I feel sure the Wigan fans will join me in ensuring that Shaun gets the appropriate send-off that he so richly deserves.
“In terms of a replacement, Wigan will not rush into an appointment as Shaun goes on to complete his final season.”