WAKEFIELD TRINITY WILDCATS’ surprise coaching vacancy has prompted a “vast amount of interest”, chairman Michael Carter says.
Wildcats are looking for a new team boss – their 11th since joining Super League in 1999 – after Brian Smith quit on Tuesday morning.
Stuart Dickens has been placed in charge for tomorrow’s trip to St Helens and Carter said his phone is already red hot with calls from potential applicants.
“I am not going to name any names, but there is a vast amount of interest out there from a wide area of coaches,” said Carter, who reported around 15 approaches within a day of Smith’s exit.
Carter insisted he is keeping an “open mind” over Smith’s replacement, but admitted he is keen to make an appointment sooner rather than later.
“I want someone in as quickly as possible,” he said. “We need stability, we need to start focusing on winning some Super League games.
“We need to get the right man for the job, as quickly as possible.”
Dickens had a spell as caretaker boss last year and worked as Smith’s assistant, but Carter said he has not indicated he would like the role on a permanent basis.
Smith, who took charge last June, resigned two days after Wildcats were beaten 42-28 at home by Catalans Dragons – their fourth defeat in five First Utility Super League fixtures this year. The 61-year-old Australian took training in Featherstone as scheduled and then told the players he was leaving, before driving to Wakefield to break the news to Carter.
The chairman said he had a text from a chief executive at a rival Super League club “asking if I was on the lookout for a new head coach” before he had heard anything from Smith.
“Brian walked into the office, said he was terminating his contract and walked out and that was it,” Carter revealed.
“By his manner you could tell this wasn’t a decision that was going to get changed. He was terminating his contract and that was it.”
The chairman admitted his relationship with Smith had been “frosty” since Christmas – for reasons he refused to divulge – but defended the amount of backing the coach was given.
He said: “He was the highest-paid coach we have ever had [and] 19 of 31 squad members were signings or re-signings he sanctioned. It was the highest playing budget we’ve ever had and we’ve put extra resources into strength and conditioning, physio and training facilities at Featherstone.
“I’ve tried to back him to the hilt with everything he’s wanted, but I guess, at the end of the day, it was never enough.”
Carter denied feeling let down by Smith. He added: “He has obviously got his reasons for leaving.
“He came across last year and did the job I asked him to do, keeping us in Super League. I don’t really want to focus on the negatives, we are where we are and we’ve got to move on quickly.
“Quitting is not an option for some of us. I could do tomorrow, but I think there’d be chaos for the next three weeks.
“We’ve just got to live with the hand we’ve been dealt and make decisions in the best interests of this club, like we always have done.”