LEIGH Centurions head coach Paul Rowley has extended his contract with the club by a further three years until the end of 2017.
Rowley, aged 39, has masterminded the Centurions’ club record-breaking start to the current campaign, with a run of 16 successive victories, including 13 in the Kingstone Press Championship and three in the Tetley’s Challenge Cup.
He started and ended his playing career with the club, making a total of 198 appearances and scoring 70 tries between 1993 and 2007 and also played with distinction for Halifax and Huddersfield, representing England in the 2000 World Cup.
Since retiring as a player Rowley has been involved on the Club’s coaching staff and succeeded Ian Millward as Head Coach at the end of the 2011 season.
He guided Leigh to their Northern Rail Cup Final victory over Sheffield Eagles at The Shay last season and is regarded as one of the game’s most accomplished young coaches.
Centurions Head of Rugby Derek Beaumont was instrumental in organising the new deal.
Beaumont also revealed that there is an agreement for added years depending on the Centurions achieving certain performance targets.
“Effectively it’s a rolling contract that ties Paul to the Club for as long as he wants,” Mr Beaumont said.
“It is marvellous news and I believe it to be our best ever signing. Paul has made rapid strides as a Coach and is a highly motivated and driven individual with a thirst for knowledge and great desire to improve himself.
“He also conducts himself in an exemplary manner and is a great man manager of players, treating them individually as people and earning their respect.
"All the players I’ve met recently to sort out new contracts have all asked first of all about Paul’s plans for the future.
"Paul has a great presence and is widely respected. He’s first and foremost an intensely proud Leigh born Coach and has a great ambition for the Club. Hopefully he can achieve those ambitions with us.
“I believe him to be the best coach outside Super League and one who has the ability to coach at the highest level.
"I also believe he would be an accomplished coach at this stage in Super League. He has great attention to detail and leaves no stone unturned in his desire to make the Club successful.
"He has a good eye for a player, not only for their ability on the field but their character and work ethic off the field. Paul is respected by the players, his staff and the spectators and this is a massive step forward for Leigh Centurions, securing Paul on a long-term deal.”
Rowley added: “I am delighted to have secured my immediate future at Leigh Centurions and look forward to continuing on the journey we started in 2011.
"When I took over we had eight players and no backroom staff so to get to where we are at the present time is very pleasing. We recognise that we still have a long way to go but the Club is on an upward spiral and these are exciting times to be involved.
“I’d like to thank the Board of Directors, particularly Derek Beaumont for their backing and support. They have a clear vision about developing the Club and it’s great to be part of that process.
"History shows that the most successful clubs are those that build on stability and continuity and that is something we are trying to develop at Leigh Centurions. We have a great culture here and I’d like to pay tribute to my coaching and backroom staff for the enormous part they have played in achieving that alongside the players.”