Durham coach Lewis to leave the Riverside
HEAD coach Jon Lewis has left Durham after 21 years at the Riverside.
Lewis has decided to go after effectively being demoted in the restructuring taking place at Durham.
The former opener coached Durham to the Second XI Championship in 2008, and against all the odds in 2013 he took over as interim coach in mid-season after Geoff Cook suffered a heart attack, and led them to the first XI title. The team was made up almost exclusively of players who had come through the second team under Lewis.
He took full control in 2014, when Durham won the One-Day Cup using only 13 players.
In 2016 the Riversiders reached the final of the Twenty20 Cup for the only time in their history.
Lewis stayed loyal and oversaw the rebuilding of the club after their financial collapse in 2016. That saw them relegated to County Championship Division Two and lose key players such as Mark Stoneman, Keaton Jennings, Scott Borthwick and Paul Coughlin. They also decided to release Graham Onions, their all-time leading wicket-taker in first-class cricket, and Phil Mustard, their top-scorer in Twenty20.
Championship results over the last two years have been particularly disappointing. Last season they finished a eighth out of ten. Reaching the quarter-finals of the Twenty20 Cup was encouraging, but scant consolation.
Against that backdrop, Durham brought in a new director of cricket, Marcus North, at the end of last season. Although North was technically just replacing the retiring Geoff Cook, the latter had been marginalised since his 2013 heart attack, and no longer had much influence over first-team cricket. North will be far more hands-on, and has started his new job by carrying out a full review of the coaching system.
He has recommended a more fluid structure, with coaches working across the club’s various sides, rather than confining themselves to just the first, second or academy teams. There were also plans to bring in a batting coach, thus eroding Lewis’ power from below as well as above.
Lewis has decided to leave “to pursue a new challenge either in the UK or overseas.” The club are now expected to invited applications for a new head coach and possibly a batting coach.