Sale Sharks have announced that former player and coach Steve Diamond will join the club as Executive Director of Sport from 1 February. Steve will be responsible for all rugby-related matters including player recruitment, the coaching, medical and support staff, on-field performance and the management of all rugby-related budgets.
Steve initially joined the club as a player back in 1990, going on to make 290 appearances for Sale FC and then Sale Sharks. His playing career included appearances for England A, the North and the Barbarians. He played in the 1997 Pilkington Cup final for Sale against Leicester and in 2000 scored the try against Newcastle that kept the club in the Premiership.
He was appointed coach of the club in March 2001 with Jim Mallinder and in his first full season in charge helped to guide the Sharks to second place in the Premiership and victory in the Parker Pen European Challenge Shield – the club’s first major trophy in more than 140 years.
Diamond was responsible for signing players such as Kevin Yates, Jason White and Andrew Sheridan to the Sharks and gave debuts to current first-teamers Mark Cueto and Chris Jones. He went on to coach England Saxons in the Churchill Cup, then became director of rugby at Saracens before joining Northampton Saints in his last position of Head of Recruitment.
He also successfully coached Russia to a place at the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand but will now step down from that role to take on the Sale Sharks position full time.
Commenting on the appointment, owner Brian Kennedy said: “I’m absolutely delighted to welcome Steve back to Sale Sharks, a club that I know means so much to him. Over the past few weeks we have had enormous interest in the role from some world-class candidates from all over the world.
“However, once Steve expressed his desire to join I knew there would be only one man for the job. He will bring with him a knowledge and experience of the Aviva Premiership and how to succeed in what is the toughest club rugby competition in the world. His expertise in recruitment is second to none, as are his skills in implementing the right structures needed in order for success.”
Current head coach Pete Anglesea will remain as part of the coaching team as the Sharks target the second half of the season to climb the Premiership table and reach the LV= Cup final.
Speaking on his new role, Diamond said: “I’m thrilled to be back at Sale Sharks and cannot wait to get started. Whilst there is a lot to do with regards to the recruitment of both players and support staff for next season, I’m aware that we still have lots to play for this year.
“We have the core of a very good young squad here whose potential really does enthuse me. If we can keep them together, recruit other talent around them and establish the right culture that means they are playing to their full potential, we will be successful.”