Simon Grix, who has served as the head coach of Halifax Panthers for over four years, will be stepping down from his position at the end of the current season. Despite being offered a long-term deal to continue with the club, the 37-year-old coach has made the decision to seek a new challenge in his career.
During his tenure, Grix achieved significant success, notably guiding the club to a historic Challenge Cup semi-final soon after taking over as head coach in the middle of the 2019 campaign. Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, he led the team to consecutive third-place finishes in the competition, an impressive feat considering the comparatively larger resources of other clubs.
Although his future destination remains undisclosed, Grix has communicated his intentions to the club, ensuring they have ample time to plan for the 2024 season and beyond. The Halifax Panthers have a strong long-term vision both on and off the field, but Grix’s desire for a fresh challenge will lead him to explore new opportunities elsewhere.
Director of Rugby Richard Durgan, said: “Simon has informed the board he’s going to be taking up a new opportunity at the end of the season. From a personal point of view, I’m gutted. We have a really good working relationship and we’ve been together through some challenging times on and off the pitch. We’ve stuck together in the trenches and I’m sad to be losing him personally, but at the same time, I’m excited for him that opportunities have emerged, which is thoroughly deserved.”
“Thankfully, Simon’s decision to inform us at this stage gives us time. We don’t feel under any massive time pressure which we would have been if it was later in the season when a final decision was made, but equally, we won’t be hanging around. We’ve been well on with recruitment and got a lot of our business done early but we’re not full yet in terms of our playing squad, so there are some gaps to be filled. Of course, letting Simon’s successor have some input in those decisions would be preferable.”
“Simon will have some input in this process I’m sure and it will come down to myself and the board to go through that process. We’ve got a certain DNA in how we play rugby – a good, exciting brand. We want a coach who continues that brand.”
“Without pre-empting who these people will be, we have a lot going on, both on and off the pitch. We are looking at new training facilities, we have launched our PDRL and LDRL teams and the Ladies team is ongoing. It’s a really good time to be involved with the club.” Grix will now remain in charge for the rest of the season.”
The club take on London Broncos on Saturday with a place at Wembley up for grabs in the 1895 Cup Final and they currently hold a top-six spot.
Durgan added: “We have a lot to play for, we’re still in the playoffs, there is everything still to play for. Simon’s commitment to this club has always been unquestionable and there are no plans from his side or our side to push his departure forward.”