Featherstone Rovers have appointed the most successful British Rugby League coach of all time as their new Head Coach.
Brian McDermott, 51, is widely regarded as one of the sport’s most successful coaches, guiding Leeds Rhinos to four Super League titles, two Challenge Cups and a World Club Challenge title between 2011 and 2018. Having also coached the USA at international level, McDermott’s last spell as Head Coach was with Toronto Wolfpack as he guided the Canadian outfit to Million Pound Game glory in 2019 at Featherstone’s expense.
Following the demise of the Wolfpack in 2020, McDermott spent a short period in the Championship with Oldham RLFC as a consultant.
McDermott took an unorthodox route to coaching. In his early life he served his country as a Royal Marines Commando, serving on tours of duty in Iraq and Northern Ireland. Having served five years in the Royal Marines, McDermott sought a professional Rugby League contract with Bradford, initially playing and training for free in order to earn a contract. McDermott went on to Make 251 appearances for Bradford as well as four Great Britain caps and one England cap.
His coaching career began as an assistant at Huddersfield before he took his first Head Coaching role at London Broncos/ Harlequins RL between 2006-10.
He joined the Leeds Rhinos coaching staff in 2010, initially as an assistant before taking the Head Coach reigns from Brian McClennan for the 2011 season in which he guided the Rhinos to the Challenge Cup Final as well as Super League glory despite finishing fifth in the league.
The same feat was repeated in 2012 as well as a World Club Challenge win against Manly Sea Eagles.
In 2014 he led the Rhinos to Challenge Cup Final glory against Castleford but were eliminated from the playoffs.
In 2015, McDermott led Leeds’ golden generation to an historic treble-winning season. Winning the Challenge Cup, League Leaders Shield and Super League titles which led to his nomination for BBC Sports Personality, Coach of the Year.
Despite a disappointing 2016 season in which the Rhinos training ground was flooded for half of the year and several injuries to key personnel, McDermott guided the Rhinos to grand final glory again in 2017.
In November 2018, Toronto Wolfpack appointed McDermott as Head Coach where he led them to the Million Pound Game in 2019, beating Featherstone to gain Super League status for the 2020 season. Despite a difficult schedule to start the season, McDermott’s final game in charge of the Wolfpack was an 18-0 dismantling of Huddersfield in the Challenge Cup before the Canadian side’s well-documented demise.
Speaking of the appointment, Chairman Mark Campbell commented; “I’ve made it really clear in my tenure at the Club that I’m committed to giving everything I possibly can to bring Super League status to this Club, it is what this Club this deserves.
"I’ve known and worked with Brian previously and I know he is the right fit for this Club to take us to the next level. We have moved quickly to take this opportunity; it is not every day you get the chance to bring a top class coach like Brian to your Club and we are extremely excited about working together moving forward”.