NEC Harlequins are delighted to announce that Director of Rugby Dean Richards has signed a three year extension to his current contract with the Club. The 43 year-old former England and British and Irish Lions international signed a three year contract when he joined Quins in 2005 and has since agreed to a three year extension to that contract that will keep him at the Twickenham Stoop until at least June 2011.
Richards joined Quins from French Club side Grenoble where he was General Manager for a season following a very successful spell as Director of Rugby at Leicester Tigers. During his time in charge at Leicester, Richards led the Club to four consecutive league titles in England (1998/99 to 2001/02) as well to back-to-back victories in the Heineken Cup (2000/01 and 2001/02); the first Club ever to achieve this feat in the competition.
In Richards first season in charge at Quins, the Club secured their promotion back to the Premiership at the first time of asking by winning the National Division One league title, as well as the Powergen National Trophy, while their return to the top flight saw Quins finish in seventh place in the Guinness Premiership table at the end of the current season.
During his playing career, Richards won 48 caps for England between 1982 and 1997, as well as winning six caps for the Lions on the tours to Australia and New Zealand in 1989 and 1993 respectively. Richards played 314 games for Leicester and helped the Club to win the league title in 1987/88 and 1994/95, as well as the Pilkington Cup in 1993 and 1997.
"I am delighted to have extended my contract with Quins," said Richards. "I'm very happy at the Club and my family have settled well in the area. I'm very excited about the developments at Quins, as well as being confident about building on our encouraging return to the top flight this season."
"Dean's track record speaks for itself," said Mark Evans, NEC Harlequins Chief Executive. "He has had huge success throughout his career, both as a player and a coach. He led us out of Division One at the first attempt, winning 25 out of 26 league matches, and under his guidance our return to the Premiership resulted in Quins finishing seventh and laying solid foundations on which to build."
"The Club is moving in the right direction and I'm absolutely delighted that Dean has extended his contract for a further three years with us. Stability at any sports organisation is vital and this contract renewal is an important part in ensuring the continued development of the Club."
During week commencing 22nd April Harlequins will launch an innovative, new Membership Scheme which will replace the existing Season Ticket Holder Programme. Further details of the scheme will be announced in due course.