Coaching & Development, Performance | Sep 12, 2019
Senior Appointments at Watford FC, Valencia CF, New Zealand Cricket and beyond.

Performance Appointments

The Leaders Performance Institute’s weekly review of appointments across global sport.

Welcome to the latest round-up of performance appointments, which begin with the English Premier League and Watford FC.

The Hornets chose to dismiss Javi Gracia as Head Coach and have reemployed Quique Sánchez Flores, who previously coached the team for a single season in 2015-16. There were just 30 minutes between the announcement of Gracia’s exit and the return of his Spanish compatriot Sánchez Flores.



There has been some high profile movement in Spain itself as Valencia dismissed Marcelino García Toral and replaced him as First Team Coach with Albert Celedes, who has signed a contract through to 30 June 2021.

Across the Atlantic, Diego Maradona is back in coaching in the Primera Liga in his native Argentina. He has been unveiled as the Head Coach of Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata. Maradona takes the reins until the end of the season.

On to rugby league, specifically England’s Super League, where Leeds Rhinos have appointed Richard Agar on a rolling 12-month contract. Agar had been serving on an interim basis since May when previous Head Coach David Furner was sacked.

Across the Pennines, St Helens announced that Kristian Woolf will succeed Justin Holbrook as Head Coach from 2020. Woolf has signed a two-year deal with an option for a third year.

In the world of cricket, Pakistan ended their search for a new Head Coach for their senior men’s team with the appointment of Misbah-ul-Haq. He will also serve as Chief Selector.

The South Africa senior men’s team have a new Batting Coach for their three-match series with India next month, with Amol Muzumdar accepting the role.

In the women’s game, Bob Carter has been confirmed as Head Coach of the New Zealand senior team ahead of their ICC World T20 campaign, which begins in February. Carter had been serving on an interim basis since February and has held a number of coaching positions within the White Ferns’ setup.

Back in England, Salliann Briggs has been named as Head Coach of the Nottingham-based women’s team set to compete in the ECB’s The Hundred competition from 2020.

Friday 30th September

Rugby Union leads the way this week with the news that Jim Mallinder has left his post with England Rugby to take up the position of Performance Director with Scottish Rugby. Mallinder, who described the move as “an offer I couldn’t refuse”, will work to develop players for the men’s and women’s Scotland national teams as well as the country’s two professional men’s club teams, the Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh.



Back south of Hadrian’s Wall and on to soccer. The England men’s development teams have confirmed their coaches for the upcoming season. Ian Foster has been appointed Head Coach of the men’s Under-18s, while Paul Simpson will take the same position with the men’s Under-19s.

Simpson replaces Keith Downing, who has moved up to work as Head Coach of the men’s Under-20s. The three moves form part of the Football Association’s three-year cycle at development level, which allows coaches and players to work together over a longer period.

Across the Atlantic, the Colorado Rapids of MLS have hired Robin Fraser as Head Coach. He replaces Conor Casey, who had been serving on an interim basis since May.

Switching swiftly to cricket, Mahela Jayawardene and Charlotte Edwards have been named as Head Coaches of the Southampton-based teams due to take part in the ECB’s new limited overs competition, The Hundred. Jayawardene will serve with the men’s team and Edwards the women’s.

Elsewhere, Waqar Younis was viewed as the standout candidate for the role of Bowling Coach of the Pakistan men’s senior team.

Also in Pakistan, Ijaz Ahmed has been appointed Pakistan men’s Under-19s Head Coach. He has signed a three-year contract and will also work closely with the nation’s men’s A team and the men’s Under-16s.

Friday 23rd August

We return this week with the world of cricket and Russell Domingo, who is the new Head Coach of the Sri Lanka men’s team. He replaces Steve Rhodes, who departed after the Cricket World Cup



Elsewhere in cricket, the IPL’s Sunrisers Hyderabad have agreed terms with Brad Haddin to serve as Assistant Coach. He will serve under new Head Coach Trevor Bayliss.

In the world of the NBA, the Oklahoma City Thunder have hired Mark Daigneault, David Akinyooye, Dave Bliss, Brian Keefe, and Mike Wilks to serve as assistant coaches on Head Coach Billy Donovan’s staff.

On to soccer, where Jack Collison has been appointed Head Coach of Atlanta United’s Under-17s men’s team. Zach Herold has been named to the same position for Atlanta’s Under-16s.

Friday 16th August

Kate Markgraf has been hired as the first-ever General Manager of the US women’s national soccer team. Markgraf, who has 201 caps from her time representing the team, will be responsible for the team’s culture and playing style but her most immediate job is to find a replacement for the departed Head Coach Jill Ellis.



There have been a number of appointments across the world of cricket this week and we begin with the India Premier League and the Kolkata Knight Riders’ announcement that their former batsman Brendon McCullum will serve as the team’s new Head Coach, replacing Jacques Kallis. It is a double hiring for the New Zealander, who will also take the reins of the Trinbago Knight Riders, another team from within the same group, in the Caribbean Premier League.

Elsewhere in India, Shib Sankar has been installed as the Head Coach of the Bengal women’s state cricket team. Sankar will also hold coaching duties for the Bengal junior women’s team.

The Western Australian Cricket Association has a new General Manager – High Performance in the form of Kade Harvey.

England’s new cricket competition, The Hundred, is still a year out from its inauguration but the coaching appointments continue apace.

Tom Moody has been unveiled as the Head Coach of the as-yet-unnamed men’s team to be based at the Oval in London.

Across the Thames at Lord’s, Shane Warne and Lisa Keightley will serve as head coach of the men’s and women’s teams of the franchise to be based at cricket’s spiritual home.

Over in Wales, Gary Kirsten and Matthew Mott have been hired as the head coaches of the Cardiff-based men’s and women’s teams respectively. Both men will continue in their current posts, with Kirsten coaching the DurbanHeat men’s T20 side and Mott as Australia women’s Head Coach.

Sign up to our newsletters

To ensure you’re keeping up to date with the latest intelligence, sign up (for free) to receive newsletters. Get exclusive insight from top organisations worldwide on leadership & culture, human performance, coaching & development and data & innovation.


Become a member

Join our exclusive community of 600 leading global performance organisations to target all aspects of high performance and challenge thinking with access to premium events, unlimited thought-leading content & networking opportunities. 

Become a member