Pat Lam agrees new three-year deal with Connacht
Former Samoan international extends stay in Galway as he continues to make huge strides as head coach
Pat Lam has given Connacht a major boost ahead by signing a new three-year deal with the province.
The New Zealand-born head coach has transformed the Galway-based club from a development side for the other three provinces to a one genuinely competing with the best teams in the Guinness PRO12.
We have a vision here to be ‘world class’ in everything we do so we can grow and promote the game out West and ensure everyone involved has the best opportunity to achieve their goals.
And the highly-regarded former Samoan international has been rewarded with a new deal that keeps him at the Sportsground until 2018 and should boost the province as they look to return to Europe’s elite with a top six finish this season.
Lam has been credited with a dramatic change in culture on and off the field in Connacht that has seen the province turn heads after a superb start to the season, which brought famous home interpro wins over Leinster and Munster.
And such is his vision for the club, he has also helped attract big-name players like Bundee Aki and All Blacks legend Mils Muliaina to the club from New Zealand while developing local talent from across the province and other parts of Ireland, as well as making the whole club a part of the wider Galway and Connacht communities.
“Both Steph and I are delighted that our family will be staying in Galway and with Connacht Rugby,” Lam said.
“We are blessed to be living in a very special place, meeting and making new friendships along the way.
“I am thrilled that I will be with Connacht Rugby for a further three years as we strive towards achieving great things.
“We have a vision here to be ‘world class’ in everything we do so we can grow and promote the game out West and ensure everyone involved has the best opportunity to achieve their goals.
“We believe that we are certainly on the right track with all the good work that has been done over the years by many people. To be a part of it is very exciting.”
Lam’s new contract follows the contract extensions of a trio of props with Nathan White, Ronan Loughney and Finlay Bealham all signing two-year deals.
He has instilled a real culture of belief amongst the senior team and that has had a big effect on the rest of the organisation as well.
Dublin-born centre Dave McSharry and locks Quinn Roux and Ultan Dillane have also committed their future to the province this month.
“When I started as CEO, it was very clear the impact that Pat has had on the squad of players, but also the organisation as a whole,” said Connacht Rugby CEO Willie Ruane.
“Pat came in and immediately picked up where Eric [Elwood] left off in building on the good work that had been done.
“He has instilled a real culture of belief amongst the senior team and that has had a big effect on the rest of the organisation as well.
“Pat certainly sees the bigger picture and the role of Connacht Rugby within the community.
“This is particularly evident when the senior team go out to visit all the different clubs around the province as part of our community programme. To have someone who is so aligned with our vision is invaluable.
“We are all delighted that Pat will be staying on as head coach for the next three years. As a coach, he has added real value to our professional rugby set up.
“He shows massive faith in our young players emerging from the Academy and is constantly striving to improve these young men so that they can go on to achieve their own goals of playing at the top level for both Connacht and Ireland.
“He has also been instrumental in attracting major overseas players here and with players committing their futures to the club it just reaffirms their commitment and belief in what we are doing here.”