HALIFAX have confirmed the appointment of former prop Karl Harrison as their new coach on a three-year contract.
Harrison’s move from Batley to the Shay has been one of the Championship’s worst kept secrets in recent weeks, with the 47 year old the hot favourite for the top job - which was not advertised - from the moment Grand Final winning boss Matt Calland left the club in July.
And with the Bulldogs dumped out of the play offs by Fax on Thursday night - caretaker coach Damian Ball’s side winning 32-22 in front of the Sky TV cameras to end Harrison’s season - the way was finally cleared for today’s announcement.
“It was a great honour to be asked to consider the job and once I had met the directors I had no hesitation in saying yes,” said Harrison.
“Halifax were certainly the only Championship club I would have left Batley for; they have been good to me over the last couple of years and I have been good for them and I think we can be proud of our achievements.
“I have so many great memories from Halifax and while the Karl Harrison that is going back there is a very different Karl Harrison to the one that was there as a player, I’m looking forward to getting on with the job.”
Harrison, who began his career at Featherstone, was bought by Fax’s then president Tony Gartland from Hull for a club record £100,000 in the summer of 1991 following the club’s return to Division One.
By the time the Great Britain international left at the end of the 1998 season, he had made 203 appearances and cemented a reputation that saw him inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame in October last year.
Harrison finished his career with Hull, before building an impressive coaching CV with Keighley, Bradford, Salford - where he won the Northern Ford Premiership title and the 2006 Super League coach of the year crown - England A and, latterly, Batley, turning the Bulldogs into a Championship force on a shoestring budget.
“We always considered Karl to be the right man for this club,” said Fax director Ian Croad.
“His record as a player and a coach speaks for itself and I have no doubt he will be a tremendous asset to Halifax RLFC.”