Mitchell to leave Force in 2011
March 24, 2010
Western Force coach John Mitchell will not seek reappointment © Getty Images
Western Force coach John Mitchell will not seek reappointment when his contract expires at the end of the 2011 Super 15 season.
The former All Black coach has been in charge of the Perth-based franchise since their inception in 2006 but will relinquish control at the end of his current contract. The Force are currently bottom of the Super 14 table and have registered only one competition point from their opening five games.
Despite this Mitchell's management company, The Fordham Company, have made clear that he had made the decision to leave prior to the start of the current season.
"Because of the circumstances of the Force's injury-plagued start to the year, John's focus recently has been squarely on the team and not on himself," Fordham Company chief John Fordham said. "But because Vern [Western Force chief Vern Reid] has been keen for some time to have a chat about John's future plans, I decided this morning to be totally transparent with him.
"The Force now has ample time to recruit a replacement and John always wanted to give them the courtesy of a long window."
Reid accepted Mitchell's decision and thanked him for his work, also hinting that there may be a future role at the franchise following the end of his contract.
"I've been in communication with John's management who advised today his intention not to seek reappointment following the end of his current contract at the end of the 2011 season," he said. "John Mitchell has been a key figure in the establishment of a successful rugby programme at the Western Force.
"His high profile as an international coach was a significant drawcard in the formation of our initial squad. Seven years is a long time as a head coach of a team in an international sport and John has made the decision to seek another challenge. We will discuss with John the possibility of an ongoing role as we move towards the end of his formal association."
Mitchell's tenure in Perth has been a mixed bag and he was stood down late in 2008 due to rumours pertaining to a rift between the coach and his senior players, with some reportedly feeling alienated by his leadership techniques.