McGeechan appointed to hands-on Bath role

IAN McGeechan's tour of the Guinness Premiership continues with the former Scotland and British and Irish Lions coach taking on a new post with Bath for the next two seasons.

He is officially being titled bath's 'Performance Director', but it is understood the role is a coaching consultant type, where he will work closely with Steve Meehan, the head coach at the Recreation Ground, and the coaching team, but also be free to pursue other business commitments at the same time.

McGeechan, who turns 64 later this year, started out at Headingley in Leeds as a player and was a leading figure when the sport turned professional as the director of rugby at Northampton. He quit the same post with the Scottish Rugby Union disillusioned in 2005, and took over as the Wasps' director of rugby, steering them to Heineken Cup, Premiership and Anglo-Welsh silverware.

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After leading his fourth Lions tour as a coach, where he narrowly failed to repeat his 1997 success in South Africa, he launched his own coaching consultancy business and then agreed to help Bryan Redpath and Carl Hogg at Gloucester in the early part of this year.

Bath, however, are the big paymasters in the English game now with billionaire Bruce Craig the new chairman and his determination to take the Somerset club back to the top of European rugby, and clearly attractive salary packages, tempted McGeechan to hop to Gloucester's West Midlands rivals.

Announcing McGeechan's arrival yesterday, at Bath's plush new headquarters of Farleigh House, Craig stated: "As part of our continued commitment to the success of Bath Rugby, we are delighted that Sir Ian will be joining us.

"His contribution to rugby union is unrivalled and he has been at the forefront of rugby development for many years now. He will enhance a well established and successful coaching team and, working with head coach Steve Meehan, will become an integral part of our management set-up."

McGeechan, who will renew acquaintances with new signing, the Scotland back row Simon Taylor, when he starts officially on 12 July, insisted that he was swayed by the vision that Craig and Meehan had sold him for the club.

He said: "I am delighted to become part of a club that is developing the infrastructure on and off the pitch to achieve long-term success and become one of the strongest clubs in the Europe."

McGeechan has always spoken of his preference for hands-on coaching over office-based strategy, but he believes this post will allow him a bit of both. Meehan insisted he was happy with the arrangement.