In the wake of John Duffy’s departure from Leigh Centurions on Wednesday, we look at the numbers behind his exit and at the first Super League coaches to leave in each year since 1996…
Super League’s current youngest coach, 40 year-old John Duffy, paid the price for Leigh losing all nine of their games this season (eight in Super League plus one cup-tie), by becoming the first casualty of the 2021 campaign.
Duffy won 26 of his 48 matches (54 per cent) as coach of the Centurions between 2019-2021, with his last win coming in the 34-20 home victory over Halifax on 8 March 2020 – Leigh’s fourth straight Championship victory before the season became a victim of Covid-19.
When Leigh were elevated to Super League last December, he followed Darren Abram (2005) and Neil Jukes (2017) in coaching the Centurions in the top tier.
Duffy was in his third season in charge of Leigh, but, due to their 2020 season being curtailed due to Covid-19, last week’s 40-16 defeat at Hull KR was just his 48th game in charge.
Taking over at Leigh in November 2018, he cleared the decks after a disastrous financial period that took the Centurions to the brink.
Utilising local players, he got Leigh to within 80 minutes of a 2019 Wembley appearance in the inaugural 1895 Cup (losing in the semi-final to Widnes) and into the play-offs where they were beaten on home soil by Featherstone.
His complete coaching record with Swinton, Featherstone and Leigh is as follows:
187 Games: Wins: 93; Defeats: 91; Draws: 3; 49.73 per cent win percentage.
See below for the first Super League coach to depart in each season between 1996 and 2021, when they happened, and who their replacements were:
FIRST SUPER LEAGUE COACHING CHANGES SEASON-BY-SEASON 1996-2020
Super League I – 1996
March, Workington: Ross O’Reilly succeeded Kurt Sorensen on the eve of Super League’s maiden kick-off in March 1996.
Super League II – 1997
March, Warrington: Darryl Van de Velde replaced John Dorahy at the Wolves in March 1997.
Super League III – 1998
July, Huddersfield: Phil Veivers replaced Garry Schofield at the Giants in July of 1998.
Super League IV – 1999
May, Hull FC: Steve Crooks replaced Peter Walsh at the Black and Whites in May 1999.
Super League V – 2000
March, St Helens: Ian Millward replaced Ellery Hanley at the Saints in March 2000.
Super League VI – 2001
April, Leeds: Daryl Powell replaced Dean Lance at the Rhinos in April of 2001.
Super League VII – 2002
April, Warrington: David Plange replaced Steve Anderson at the Wolves in April 2002.
Super League VIII – 2003
July, Wigan: Mike Gregory replaced Stuart Raper at the Warriors in July 2003.
Super League IX – 2004
April, Castleford: Gary Mercer replaced Graham Steadman at the Tigers in April 2004.
Super League X – 2005
May, St Helens: Daniel Anderson replaced Ian Millward at the Saints in May 2005, after Dave Rotheram had been in caretaker charge.
Super League XI – 2006
April, Wigan: Brian Noble replaced Ian Millward at the Warriors in April 2006, after Andrew Farrar had been in caretaker charge.
Super League XII – 2007
May, Salford: Shaun McRae replaced Karl Harrison at the Red Devils in May of 2007, after Steve Simms had been in caretaker charge.
Super League XIII – 2008
May, Hull FC: Richard Agar replaced Peter Sharp at the Black and Whites in May 2008.
Super League IX – 2009
March, Warrington: Tony Smith replaced James Lowes at the Wolves in March of 2009.
Super League XV – 2010
July, Bradford: Lee St Hilaire replaced Steve McNamara at the Bulls in July 2010.
Super League XVI – 2011
March, Salford: Malcolm Alker replaced Shaun McRae at the Red Devils in March 2011 – before Phil Veivers replaced Alker in April, and then Matt Parish took over from Veivers in July.
Super League XVII – 2012
March, St Helens: Mike Rush replaced Royce Simmons at the Saints in March 2012.
Super League XVIII – 2013
March, Salford: Alan Hunte replaced Phil Veivers in a caretaker capacity at the Red Devils in March 2013 – before Brian Noble replaced Hunte in April.
Super League XIX – 2014
April, Salford: Iestyn Harris replaced Brian Noble at the Red Devils in April 2014.
Super League XX – 2015
May, Wakefield: Stuart Dickens replaced James Webster at Trinity in May 2015 – before Brian Smith became permanent Wakefield coach in June.
Super League XXI – 2016
February, Hull KR: Willie Poching became caretaker before James Webster replaced Chris Chester at Rovers in February 2016.
Super League XXII – 2017
May, St Helens: Justin Holbrook replaced Keiron Cunningham at the Saints in May 2017.
Super League XXIII – 2018
June, Widnes: Francis Cummins replaced Denis Betts at the Vikings in June of 2018.
Super League XXIV – 2019
May, Leeds: Richard Agar replaced David Furner at the Rhinos in May 2019.
Super League XXV – 2020
March, Hull FC: Andy Last replaced Lee Radford at the Black and Whites in March 2020.
Super League XXVI – 2021
June, Leigh: The Centurions part company with John Duffy in June 2021, with assistant coach Kurt Haggerty to take over the head coaching role while the club searches for Duffy’s permanent replacement.
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