Why Chris Spurr is excited to take on new role as reserves head coach with Castleford Tigers
Spurr will work closely with the recently appointed head of youth development Rob Nickolay and will take charge of both the Tigers’ reserves and academy teams who have trained together in pre-season while Tony Smith has taken over as the new pathway manager.
Chris is a former player with Featherstone Rovers, York, Rochdale, Dewsbury, and Doncaster and moved into coaching shortly after finishing playing with the Dons as an assistant coach, before joining York’s staff under James Ford for four years then taking over as Castleford' s scholarship coach in 2021.
Over the past 14 years he also worked for the RFL in various roles but predominantly in coaching with the community game.
Chris said: “First of all, I’m really excited by the position, it’s the first year of reserves coming back, they were due to come back two years ago but that got postponed due to Covid.
"The reserves is going to be a bunch of our young boys in the academy, some purely reserves players, and then your first team players who need game time.
“It will be a real challenge to manage that, but I’m really excited by it and bringing some of the academy lads through and get them ready to play first team, but also managing the reserves and looking after some of the boys from the first team and make sure they get the game time they need so that when they’re called upon, they are ready to play.
“Being a head coach at this level is the next step for me, it’s down to me to drive it, when you’re an assistant you have ideas and you share them but ultimately the head coach makes the decisions and drives a lot of it. Within this role, working closely with Rob, it will be my stamp on what we do in training and how we develop the players.”
The Spurr name is, of course, well known at Castleford with Chris’s father, Robert ‘Bob’ Spurr, being a legend at the club after playing more than 300 times in Cas colours.
Chris added: “Obviously Cas is a club that is close to my heart and has been involved in my life for a long time really.
"My dad played over 300 games here and probably another 150 in what was the so-called A-Team, which fits in with the reserves coming back.
"My dad was Cas born and bred, grew up supporting the club, played for the club and I’ve always had an affinity to the club and it’s great to be a part of it. I’m really passionate about doing my best, to give the lads the best opportunities to progress."