Hull FC have appointed former captain Lee Radford as their new head coach.

Radford was unveiled as the successor to Australian Peter Gentle at a press conference at the KC Stadium today.
At the age of 34, the former Bradford Bulls and Hull second rower becomes the youngest head coach in Super League. “We’ve looked at it and we feel it is right to put Hull people in charge,” said owner Adam Pearson.

Long-serving junior coach Andy Last will become Radford’s assistant, while Hull confirmed the appointment of former New Zealand international Motu Tony as director of football in succession to Shaun McRae.lEE RADFORD

Radford, who joined his hometown club in 1997 and returned for a second spell in 2006 after a successful eight-year stint at Bradford, hung up his boots two years ago to take up a three-year contract as assistant coach, although he has twice agreed to come out of retirement to answer the club’s injury crisis.

“It’s a massive honour and a massive responsibility,” Radford told the news conference. “It’s obviously a huge chapter of my life and it’s not a decision that has come easy to me. I’m fully aware of how massive a job it is.” Radford also revealed he received support from Gentle. “I spoke to Pete yesterday to wish him well and his response was that he couldn’t think of anybody better to go for the job, which says a lot about the bloke,” he said.

Radford, who made over 200 appearances for Hull, led them out at Wembley in the 2008 Challenge Cup final and played in the 2006 Grand Final against St Helens.

He coached local team East Hull for over a decade and, after hanging up his boots, coached Hull’s Under-20s before concentrating on his role as defensive coach under Gentle.

Athough Hull reached the Challenge Cup final at Wembley last month and finished in the top six in Super League, they struggled on the big occasion and a lack of consistency prompted Pearson to make the change.

“The easy decision – and the cheap decision – would have been to leave Peter in charge for another two years but I just felt we had taken it as far as we could under that regime,” said Pearson.

“I think we have progressed as a club over the last two years and I think sixth and a Wembley final is okay. But there has definitely been a lack of consistency in our performances. Finishing sixth and losing at Wembley in the manner we did is not acceptable.

“I need a leader who people naturally look up to and can instill a little bit of discipline, a little bit of fear, and can get some consistency into our play. I want someone to make sure the team plays every week and not just when it wants to. I think Lee has those qualities.”

Pearson has set Radford some challenging targets but he expects his head coach to be able to deliver them.

“I just want us to finish consistently in the higher echelons of the league and to be challenging for Grand Finals and Challenge Cups on a regular basis,” he said.

“I don’t see why we can’t have that as an objective. I think Lee is a big enough and man enough to accept that as a responsibility. But certainly we need to give him the time and the resource to be able to manage properly.”

State of Mind would like to wish Lee and Andy all the best in their new challenge!