The St George Illawarra Dragons on Friday announced that Paul McGregor has been appointed Head Coach of the Club for the next three seasons.
McGregor, the interim Head Coach of the Dragons since round 12 and former Club Captain, was this week offered the role full-time for the 2015, 2016 and 2017 seasons respectively.
Dragons CEO Peter Doust indicated that the process had been detailed and deliberate with the Board determining that McGregor was the right person to lead the Dragons over the coming seasons.
“We are very pleased to have been able to reach an agreement with Paul McGregor that will see him take on the Head Coach role full-time from next season,” said Doust.
“Anyone who knows and speaks with Paul can clearly understand his passion for the Dragons, his honesty and drive to succeed.
“A very detailed process was undertaken with a variety of coaches and scenarios considered but on balance, the Board determined that Paul was the most appropriate fit for our Club moving forward.
“Paul’s preparedness to take on the role mid-season and the way he has gone about this is to be respected.
“He has enormous support and respect within the Dragons, particularly from the playing group and also from rugby league coaches, players and administrators outside of the Dragons.
“Paul has had success and experience in the local Illawarra league and Illawarra Cutters with part-time and NRL players and also in the representative arena with NSW Country and Origin.”
Doust specified that McGregor’s varied background and plans for the future were key factors for the Board.
“Away from coaching Paul has developed skill sets and expertise that the Board believes are advantageous to the all-round requirements of a Head Coach, such as his knowledge and experience in athletic development and performance, management skills acquired through the development of his own business outside of rugby league, and his Coaching experience over a number years,” said Doust.
“Paul has very strong and clear views about what needs to be done to ensure the Dragons deliver appropriate results for all stakeholders.
“He has strong opinions on the roster and recruitment going forward and as he now has the position of Head Coach, we can all be very confident of his commitment to lead change and growth, in conjunction with the requirements he and the team have in front of them for the remainder of this 2014 season.”
McGregor is both humbled and excited by the opportunity to be given be the Head Coach role on a full-time basis.
“It was an absolute honour to play and Captain the Dragons and to now be given the opportunity to be the Head Coach on a full-time basis is an even greater honour,” said McGregor.
“I am extremely passionate about the Club, I understand what this Club means to everyone associated with it and a big part of me wanting to take this position is the opportunity for me to give back to the Club and game that has given me so much.
“When I first began coaching after retiring from playing, I did this because I felt that I had something to offer and I wanted to share my experience and make players both better players and better people and this will continue to be a guiding principle for me.
“When I took over the role half-way through the year it was definitely in difficult circumstances and despite the concerns that I had at the start of the journey, I have loved every minute of it.
“The response of the players, the challenge and the positive rewards gave me the desire to put my hand up for the role full-time.”
McGregor explained that this determination now enabled him to plan for the future in conjunction with requirements to keep the Dragons alive in the race for the Finals Series this year.
“I and the current squad still have a big job in front of us and my focus won’t be taken from this,” said McGregor.
“However, knowing that I will here for the next three years now allows me the opportunity to have a good look at our squad, our juniors, our systems and recruitment and make decisions about what is needed to return our Club to the top of the game.
“We have a young squad that will develop over time and I am really excited about the opportunities over the next three years.
“There is no doubt going to be some tough times and tough decisions along the way, but I will always do what I believe is in the best interests of the Club and team.
“It is my job to make the tough decisions as we haven’t consistently played Finals Football for a while and that is not good enough for our Club.”
McGregor noted that there would be no immediate changes but that all aspects of the Football Department will be under review.
“Over the next weeks and months I will look deep into our systems to ensure a thorough understanding of all aspects of our department and people and make any necessary changes,” said McGregor.
“I am extremely grateful to the Board and the Players for the support and confidence that they have shown in me and whilst I am really excited about the future we need to finish this season well and have a big job ahead of us Sunday against the Gold Coast Titans.”
No decisions have been made as yet in regards to the make-up of McGregor’s Coaching Staff for next season.