Adrian Lam says he was "shocked" to see Dave Furner get sacked by Leeds so early in the season.
They arrived back in Super League together having been Wigan team-mates for two years.
Furner was sacked just six months into a three-year contract after four wins from 14 Super League games.
"It's always sad to see a mate leave," said Lam. "I'm shocked, they seemed like they were building with some new players, I thought he may have got some more time but that's how it is in Super League, I understand that and I wish him all the best.
"I feel sorry for him, it's a decision I think was rushed. I don't know what the circumstances are but obviously something hasn't worked out."
Former Halifax boss Richard Marshall is the bookmaker’s 4-1 favourite to succeed Furner, with interim coach Richard Agar and former Wigan coach Shaun Wane listed at 11-2.
Another of the bookies' leading contenders, Daryl Powell, has ruled himself out.
“I was really shocked,” Powell said. “It’s very early isn’t it? He’s not been given a massive amount of time to fix things up there.
“I don’t know what’s gone on inside those four walls but I know Dave personally and he’s a top fella.
“I’m just surprised it’s happened so early in his career at Leeds.”