Lee Radford opens up on Hull FC exit after shock code switch to Dallas Jackals
The 41-year-old, who has switched codes to today be announced as defensive coach at new Major League Rugby club Dallas Jackals, lost his job just minutes after an embarrassing 38-4 defeat to Warrington Wolves on March 12.
Radford enshrined himself in Hull folklore by famously helping end the East Yorkshire club’s winless run at Wembley, lifting the Challenge Cup in 2016 and seeing his side successfully retain the trophy 12 months later.
However, large periods of poor form in the following two years, allied to a fourth defeat in five games this term, saw the seven-year reign as head coach of his hometown club come to an end.
Pearson announced the decision on the KCOM Stadium pitch during a live interview with Sky Sports in the immediate aftermath of that heavy defeat.
Having so far kept his own counsel on the matter, Radford told The Yorkshire Post: “I aren’t one for looking back and dwelling. I just think what’s happened has happened.
“After a defeat like that and the manner of the defeat and the performance, something had to give. It’s usually the head coach that goes. It is what it is. I don’t have any regrets and hopefully I’ve made some fantastic friends throughout my time at the club.
“There’s not many that get to serve a club that long - almost 20 years (over two spells) - and I’d like to think I gave everything towards whatever role, whatever capacity I was in.
“He (Pearson) gave me my first opportunity to be a head coach, to coach my hometown club and to go make history.
“I’ll be forever grateful for that. I’ve absolutely no issues with him. I met him a week after (being sacked) and still speak to him via message so I’ve absolutely no issues whatsoever.
“And I do genuinely wish him and the club well. I’ll be supporting them and watching them in the future.”
Ironically, Super League Hull have not played since that night in March given rugby league was shutdown due to the coronavirus just four days later.
Radford’s long-term assistant Andy Last will take control as caretaker coach when they do likely return to action in August and he believes he should be given chance to prove his credentials.
He said: “I think he’ll do a great job. And I think the team will do really well. If he can get that best 17 on the field they will be a match for anybody in the competition.
“Obviously, with what’s happened (Covid), it might be a blessing in disguise to give everybody time to get them back on the field.”
Forward Radford started his career with Hull in 1997 before moving on to Bradford Bulls where he won two Super League titles, the Challenge Cup and World Club Challenge.
He returned to Hull in 2006 and became assistant coach when he retired five years later.
On his cross-code move to the US ahead of Dallas’ inaugural season in the expanding Major League Rugby, he said: “It was one of those situations where when I put the phone down on the call there was genuine excitement and butterflies.
“It’s a great opportunity.”
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