Edinburgh Rugby have announced that Mike Blair is leaving his position as head coach at the end of the season.
Blair has decided not to renew his contract when it expires and will leave the club but plans to continue his coaching career elsewhere, with an intention to take an attack coach role next.
The former Scotland international, who is his country’s most-capped scrum-half, has been in full-time coaching since retiring as a player in 2016. He worked as an assistant at Glasgow and with Scotland before taking charge at his hometown club two years ago.
Blair said he had enjoyed the experience of being Edinburgh head coach and had found the decision to leave a difficult one to make.
He said: “My greatest passion is coaching – developing individuals, groups, and the team – to allow them to get the most out of themselves. As a head coach it is very difficult to do this justice because of everything else that comes with the role. For my next role I want to put my energy and knowledge into being a world class attack coach.
“My time as head coach has been a brilliant experience, working with outstanding players, coaches, and management. It is also an all-consuming job, which I have given everything to since being appointed and I’ve learnt a lot about myself and the game during this period. This will be invaluable going forward as I look to continue my development, whilst not ruling out a return to a Head Coach role in the future.
“Edinburgh Rugby and Scottish Rugby have been incredibly supportive and patient with me while I came to this decision, which I am very grateful for. It has been humbling to lead my home club, so it was an incredibly difficult decision to make.
“I know this decision may come as surprise to some people, but I truly believe focusing on my passion will allow me to get the best out of myself and the players I coach.”
Douglas Struth, Edinburgh Rugby managing director, said: “I’d like to thank Mike for his contribution to Edinburgh Rugby. He’s a club legend and has played a big part in creating many memorable moments for the club, with a lot still to play for in the current campaign.
“I’d also like to commend him for what is a proactive, positive, and brave decision, which is in keeping with how he has operated in the past season and a half with the club. During this time we have made notable progress under his leadership – driving standards and our style of play in our new home.”
Mark Dodson Scottish Rugby chief executive said: “I’d like to extend my thanks to Mike for the superb job he has done at Edinburgh Rugby.
“I know this wasn’t an easy decision for him to not continue as Head Coach but it is one I fully respect and support as the best thing for Mike as a coach and individual.
“He deserves credit for both the progress and achievements the club have made in the past two seasons and for his own personal contribution to that.
“Mike will still be in post for the rest of this season, and I know the team and coaching group still have a lot to play for and will want to end this campaign on a high.
“We are in discussions with Edinburgh and Douglas Struth to find a new head coach for the club, who will update the fans further once this is completed.”
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