LEEDS FORCE have parted company with their first head coach and one of the architects of their elevation into the British Basketball League, Matt Newby.
Newby leaves after three years in charge of the BBL team and nearly a decade with the organisation before that.
He will continue in his role as the head of the basketball programme at Leeds Beckett University, and with the club’s academy, which he helped form.
But the BBL operation is seeking a new head coach to help the team bounce back from a disappointing 11th place finish in the 12-team division last season.
A brief statement from the club said they were looking to move on to a “new chapter in its history”.
The statement read: “With a combined league record of 31 wins and 71 losses coach Newby guided Leeds Force to their first ever play-off berth in 2016 and has secured himself an important place in the club’s history.
Leeds Force chief executive Mark Mills added: “I want to thank Matt for all his hard work over the past three years and without him we wouldn’t be where we are.
“He approaches the game with a passion that is unrivalled and is one of the most driven people I have met.
“However, the time has come for both Matt and the club to move in different directions. Everyone at the club wishes Matt all the best for his future and we have no doubt that he will bring wins to wherever he coaches.”
Newby had no history of coaching at BBL level when he was named into the role on the club’s ascension from the national leagues at the start of the 2014-15 BBL season.
I wish the team and the programme well in the future. I’ve still got roles and responsibilities here that I will concentrate on.
But he was instrumental in the club’s progression through the national leagues and in the setting up of the club’s academy for both sexes, which was a key factor in them winning the right to be elevated into the elite division.
Newby told the YEP: “At the end of the day it’s professional sport and it’s a results business.
“I wish the team and the programme well in the future. I’ve still got roles and responsibilities here that I will concentrate on. There’s the role at Leeds Beckett University and then one I have with the youth programme here which I have created and developed.”
Newby has recenty been linked with the head coaching role at BBL mainstays Plymouth Raiders, which is a similar programme to the one at Leeds in that it has links with the local university.
Newby says he has not had contact with Plymouth.
It is understood any future head coaching role offered to Newby would have to be of a similar level, given his affinity for the youth programme he has built up in Leeds, one that takes the sport of basketball to schools and academies across the city.
Force have also bid farewell to Rob Marsden, who has joined BBL rivals Sheffield Sharks. Marsden, who finished fourth in rebounds in the BBL last season, said: “I’m excited to play for the Sharks.”