ALMOST three years after being sacked as Hawick rugby coach and vowing he was finished with the game in any similar capacity, former Scotland international hooker Jim Hay has pulled on his boots again to help out a semi-junior team in his home town, writes Mark Entwistle.
Last week, Hawick Wanderers parted company with coach of more than two seasons, Greg McLeod, after the former player said the attitude of disrespect shown to him and the club by some of the young Wands players had made it impossible for him to continue in the role.
McLeod’s departure was one of two changes among Hawick sides last week, with Linden also saying goodbye to Brian McDonnell for undisclosed reasons, although team manager, Keith Brown, did describe the move as amicable.
Asked about his departure, McLeod felt anything but amicable, firing an angry broadside at some of the club’s players.
“When I played, you regarded it as a privilege to play for the club, but there are some players now who seem to think it is a privilege for the club to have them turning out for it,” said McLeod, coach for the past two seasons.
“I’ve enjoyed my time as coach. There are some good laddies there and I have no gripes with the club itself. But I’m not prepared to stay and be disrespected by certain players or see the club disrespected.”
Hay, who was dismissed as Green’s coach in late 2008, takes over for the remainder of this season, but McLeod added: “I wish Jim all the best – he’ll not have his troubles to seek.”
When contacted last week, Hay said, as a former Wands player himself, he felt a duty to help out by coaching until the end of the season.
And he acknowledged he had said at the time of his departure as senior Hawick XVs coach, that he would not fill that role again, but had felt unable to turn away Wands.
“The Wands were my club when I was a young player. My son plays with them and I also sponsor their jerseys, so I felt I had a duty to help them out if I could,” he said.
“It just shows you should never say never”, he told us.
Hay has experience of coaching at semi-junior level, having been a Scotland Under-18s coach for three seasons.
Quizzed over the alleged complaints made by McLeod about attitude among some of the Wands players, Hay has already warned the players to toe the line or be shown the door.
He said: “I don’t think that the kind of attitude issue Greg is complaining about, if correct, is confined to Hawick Wands. I think it’s just symptomatic of some of the young people of today. It’s changed times.”
Up in the senior ranks, Hawick 1st XV are also still without a head coach following the departure of Derek Armstrong.
The closing date for applicants is Sunday, which means the Mansfield Park outfit will be rudderless for this weekend’s derby clash against Melrose at the Greenyards. And, having lost their first game of the season to Dundee last weekend, Craig Chalmers’ outfit will be gunning for the Greens.
Over at Netherdale, Gala take on Stirling County for a game which could see the Maroons at the top of Premier One. See fixture panel below for all other Borders matches.