Huddersfield RUFC head coach Gaz Lewis is heading into his eighth season in charge and his desire for success still burns brightly.
Lewis, 41, a PE teacher at Lightcliffe Academy in Halifax, is keen to keep driving the club forward.
He said: “I am very proud to come from Huddersfield, I love my town, I have lived in it and grown up in it and I am now bringing my own family up here.
“I like to see all Huddersfield sports clubs doing well including the football clubs – Huddersfield Town, Golcar United and Emley. I like to see the Giants doing well too. I am a Huddersfield man through and through.”
Lewis took on the role of head coach at HRUFC in 2013. Under his leadership the First XV have lifted two National League titles and achieved their highest ever finish in National 2 North.
His aim has been to create a high performance environment which empowers players and enables them to take responsibility, make decisions and set their own goals.
Lewis added: “I want this club to play at the highest level it can. Obviously playing at National League 1 would be an incredible step for the club to take. It would be a big ask too financially but we can always dream.
“If we can get to the stage of being one of the best consistently performing teams in this league, we will be happy.”
Lewis began his career at the club when he was just 15 and played in the junior and Academy set ups.
After that he moved on to play senior rugby at Levels 2 and 3 with Leeds, Manchester, Halifax and Harrogate before returning to his hometown club to complete his playing career. Lewis returned in 2009 and has stayed at the club ever since.
Lewis also played in the Yorkshire Under 20 National Championship-winning team in 1999-2000 and represented the county at senior level too.
Since hanging up his boots Lewis has dedicated himself to honing his coaching skills gaining RFU Accreditation to Level 3. His success and ability was recognised in 2018 when he was named NCA National Two ‘Coach of the Year’ and by the county a year later when he was appointed as Yorkshire RFU senior assistant coach.
Now living in Holmfirth Lewis is a proud family man, supporting son Harry, 12, in his sporting activities and eight-year-old daughter Olivia in her gymnastics.
On his family, Lewis said: “My son Harry plays for the under 13s. He’s into his football and cricket at the moment too. However it’d be great to keep him on the rugby path.
Lewis believes it is important to bring through the youth at the club and will always have an eye on the academy sides.
He said: “We’ve had some really big names come out of the club and the majority are Huddersfield lads.
“We are proud of our academy and we want to harness any young talent that comes through. Obviously there is a balance to be struck. This is no easy league and we need to get results but we do have an eye for the future.”
On the current season Lewis would like to see the club challenging at the top end of the table and said: “It’s a really difficult league, there are no easy games. However I’d like to hope we’d give it a good go and challenge the top teams.”