FORMER Melrose ‘Club XV’ head coach Stuart Johnson has been recruited by Hawick as part of a new look coaching line-up – alongside last season’s backs coaches Dean McCracken and Matty Douglas, along with former stalwart hooker Matt Landels – ahead of the 2020-21 season.
Rather than appoint a direct replacement for the recently retired George Graham, Hawick have opted to go with this four man coaching panel, with Director of Rugby Garry Douglas being the fifth member of the selection committee. Former Greens scrum-half and captain Kevin Reid will take over as team manager.
“We’re delighted that Stuart has agreed to come on board,” said Douglas. “He has a wealth of knowledge and he is in the right mould to fit into our relatively young coaching team.
“We have been keen to get Matt landels to move into a coaching role after being team manager for the last couple of seasons. Matt is a veteran of ‘The Green Machine’ and is desperate to get his teeth into coaching,” he continued. “Dean and Matty have gone from strength to strength over the last few seasons and both feel we have unfinished business in this league.”
Hawick enjoyed a remarkable upturn in fortunes during the last two and a half years under Graham, during which time they went from relegation favourites to genuine title challengers, finishing third in the Premiership table when the game went into lockdown last month, and motoring into the play-offs on a high having won their last ten league matches on the bounce. The challenge facing this new coaching panel is to carry that momentum on into next season.
“I would personally like to take the opportunity to thank George Graham for his time at the club,” said Douglas. “George has certainly left his legacy on the club and if it had not been for him it is unlikely we would still be in the Premiership. I really enjoyed working with George. He is an outstanding coach and could motivate players to run through brick walls. He fitted well with Hawick and we wish him all the best with his retirement. I hope to catch up with him at Kingston Park watching his sons Guy and Gary playing.”