Bath statement: The exit of Stuart Hooper
Former director of rugby Stuart Hooper is to leave Bath following a 15-year association with the club. It was last summer when the ex-skipper stepped back from his DoR role to allow Johann van Graan take charge of first-team affairs, and his exit from The Rec has now been confirmed 12 months later.
A statement read: “After 15 years of dedication to Bath Rugby, Stuart Hooper will depart the club this summer. Joining in 2008, Hooper was a stalwart in his eight years as a player, making 192 appearances before a back injury put an end to his playing career at 34.
“He had a profound impact on our playing squad due to his leadership and the way he conducted himself, spending five seasons as the club’s captain which makes him the second-longest serving Bath skipper of all time.
“He made a huge contribution on the field and proudly led the side out at Twickenham in the 2014/15 Premiership final. A role model whose dedication to Bath remains unquestionable, he moved into the position of performance and player development Director following his retirement and his hunger to bring on and develop the region’s young players into becoming senior players was evident.
“Orlando Bailey, Max Ojomoh, Tom de Glanville, Ewan Richards and Ethan Staddon are among players handed deserved debuts by the 41-year-old during his time as director of rugby, after first spending time as part of Todd Blackadder’s backroom staff.
“Hooper guided Bath to a top four finish in the Premiership in 2019/20 and after a couple more seasons as DoR, he assumed his current position of general manager where he has been a key driver in the club’s ambitions for women’s and girls rugby as well as player recruitment.
“His contribution to Bath Rugby over such a long period of time has been immeasurable. Everyone at the club would like to thank Stu for everything and would like to wish him and his family all the very best for the future.”
Hooper said: “After 15 years, it is almost impossible to pick certain people or moments to mention. I will always be immensely proud to have stood beside and led many incredible women and men during my time at the club. Every player, member of staff and supporter has been a part of my journey, and I thank you all. I will miss you.
“Bath Rugby has taught me so much, and I leave this great club with a heart full of wonderful memories and a head full of experiences and determination for the future.”
Chief executive Tarquin McDonald added: “Stuart is deeply rooted to this club, deeply connected to our city and his contribution over 15 years has been immense; 192 appearances as a player, five seasons as captain, Stuart earned the respect of every head coach that he worked with.
“A passionate advocate for developing our staff and players, Stuart transformed our player pathway – establishing key partnerships with Beechen Cliff and the University of Bath – and gave debuts to many homegrown players.
“He led us through the challenges of covid, including a top four finish in 2019/20. More recently he has focused on shaping the club’s future through his work on our senior squad recruitment, and through our women and girls project, building towards a professional Bath Rugby women’s team competing at The Rec.
“Stuart deserves huge respect for everything he has given the club. First and foremost, everything that he does puts squad and staff first, he is a genuine club man.”
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Superb player and always a joy to watch.Go to comments
Sadly for Dweba his performance on the field was poor.Go to comments