HUNSLET HAWKS coach Barry Eaton has signed a two-year contract extension, keeping him at the south Leeds club until the end of 2016.
Eaton joined Hawks on a two-year deal ahead of the 2012 season, after a spell as assistant-coach at then-Super League club Crusaders.
The former Dewsbury Rams, Widnes Vikings and Batley Bulldogs half-back guided Keighley Cougars to a Championship One promotion final victory in 2009 and is hoping to repeat the feat with Hawks this year.
Hunslet were relegated from the Kingstone Press Championship last term, but are currently top of Championship One and looking ahead to a Tetley’s Challenge Cup fifth round tie at holders Wigan Warriors later this month.
Eaton – who also has a part-time role as an assistant to Leeds Rhinos boss Brian McDermott – said: “I am happy with the direction the club is heading in and the fact the team are playing well is an added bonus.
“The main reason I – and my family – wanted to stay is the way we’ve been made to feel. I joined the club in frustrating circumstances when Crusaders went out of Super League and that was a really torrid time for me and my family.
“Since then it has been a tough time for the club on the playing side and financially, but green shoots are starting to appear.
“The club is on a more solid footing financially – although we don’t have the finances clubs like Featherstone, Leigh and Halifax do – and that’s a big part of me being happy here.
“The club is well-run and professionally-run, within budget and they aren’t doing things they shouldn’t be, in terms of making promises they can’t keep and spending money they don’t have.”
Eaton added: “We have got some good players in the team, a lot of local players and the fact somebody like Thomas Coyle – who was on a Super League contract 18 months ago – has committed to the club in Championship One is testament to the way the club’s being run.”
Hawks chairman Neil Hampshire was “absolutely thrilled” with Eaton’s contract extension. He said: “He has bought into the philosophies of a supporter-owned club and has become integral to what we want to achieve here, being a key factor in helping to grow the business side as well as putting the club at the heart of the community. Barry is without doubt one of the outstanding young coaches in today’s game and has instilled a thoroughly professional approach right across the coaching, playing and backroom staff.
“This new deal is just reward for the outstanding job he has done so far on a very limited budget. It gives both Barry and the club a stable platform from which to move forward.”
And Hunslet director of rugby Darren Williams added : “We are delighted to retain the services of Barry for a further two years.
“He’s highly regarded in the game and our current group of players have certainly bought into his philosophies.
“We’re building solid foundations for the future of this club and Barry is part and parcel of what we want to achieve here.”