Champs begin search for new coach

State Championship winners the Northern Pride are on the hunt for a new head coach after record-breaking mentor Jason Demetriou was released from his contract to join the North Queensland Cowboys as their new assistant coach for the 2015 season.

Demetriou, 38, guided the Pride to consecutive minor premierships in the past two seasons, with the side defeating Easts Tigers to claim this year's Intrust Super Cup crown.

A week later, the club travelled to Sydney to take on VB NSW Cup champions the Penrith Panthers and defied the odds to win that fixture 32-28 on NRL Grand Final day to complete an unprecedented treble.

The former UK Super League star leaves the Pride with a coaching record of 40 wins from 51 games – a remarkable winning percentage of 78 per cent.

Demetriou said the Pride would always hold a place in his heart as he prepares for his first venture into the National Rugby League.

"It's no secret that I've been keen to take my coaching career further in the NRL, and the Pride have always been supportive of myself in that respect," said Demetriou.

"From the day I joined two years ago the club has been nothing but understanding, loyal and supportive in everything I have been trying to achieve.

"From the players and coaching staff, to the Board and volunteers and fans, it has been a collective effort to achieve the success we have.

"The Pride creates pathways for not only their players, as we've seen recently with Shaun Nona, Hezron Murgha and Blake Leary landing NRL deals, but also their coaches.

"I'm extremely honoured I was given the opportunity to coach the Pride, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time in charge.

"I'd like to thank everyone who has supported me, including my family and friends, the loyal Pride fans, and the great group of players I've been lucky enough to coach.

"It has been an incredible season and one I’ll never forget, and I can’t thank everyone enough for two of the best years of my life.

"It's going to be very hard to leave this great club and it will always mean a lot to me."

Pride CEO Brock Schaefer said the Club would leave no stone unturned to find a suitable replacement for Pride's most successful ever coach.

"On behalf of everyone at the club, I'd like to thank 'JD' for everything he has done for the Pride over the past two years and wish him all the best at the Cowboys.

"His contribution has been immense, and this year's achievements are testament to his coaching talents.

"We will miss JD around the place but our attention now switches to the excitement of recruiting a new head coach.

"We already have an existing shortlist of superb candidates, a list that includes many local Far North Queensland-based coaches we are supremely confident can continue to lead the Pride forward.

"But we're also going to be seeking the best candidates from around the rugby league world for this important position.

"We won’t leave any stone unturned to make sure we get the best man possible to continue the ongoing development and success of the Northern Pride."

Expressions of interest for the vacant head coach role at the Pride begin immediately, with a closing date for applications of this Friday (17 October).

The position will be advertised through the NRL, QRL and other rugby league channels. Candidates will be shortlisted by the Pride executive and Board this weekend, with interviews to take place next week.

Candidates can send their expressions of interest to Mr Brock Schaefer, Chief Executive Officer, Northern Pride Rugby League Football Club at brock@northernpride.com.au 

The applications must include a resume, cover letter (with one paragraph about their coaching philosophy), availability, and expected salary.