Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Phil Simmons will step down as Ireland coach to become head coach of the West Indies.
Simmons, who spent eight years with Ireland, has signed a three-year deal with the West Indies and will look to turn their fortunes around after they were knocked out in the World Cup quarter-finals by New Zealand.
During his time with Ireland, Simmons guided the country to 11 titles and helped them qualify for every major International Cricket Council (ICC) event.
“I’ve had eight wonderful years as Ireland’s head coach, and will always cherish the memories of those great days we’ve shared,” Simmons said. “The wins in the World Cups over Full Members were all special as we showed the world just what Irish cricket is capable of.
“It was a very difficult decision to leave, but I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to coach my home team. They’re going through a difficult period at the moment, but I’m confident I can help to improve their fortunes.”
West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) chief executive Michael Muirhead welcomed Simmons aboard and hopes that he can lead the national team to victory when they take on England in a three-Test series on home soil next month.
“Phil has a proven ability to develop players, while cultivating great team spirit and a winning culture,” Muirhead said. “We have a number of young, talented players about whom he is excited to be coaching and we believe he is the right fit.”
Meanwhile, Cricket Ireland CEO Warren Deutrom was sad to see Simmons go, and said: “Everyone will miss Phil Simmons. His warmth and strength of values endeared him to everyone. Over the last eight years, Phil has overseen our qualification for every major ICC event, identifying our best young talent, developing our players in skill-levels and self-belief, and producing a series of results that means every team in the world takes us seriously.
“As Phil has contributed to us, so we are proud to have helped him develop his career to the point that he can now pursue his dream of coaching his home team. He leaves with nothing other than our very best wishes.”