Widnes Vikings have confirmed head coach Kieron Purtill has resigned and has taken up an role with Hull FC.
Purtill, who guided to club to Wembley this year, signed a new contract with the club less than two months ago, but has now taken on a role in the backroom staff of the Black and Whites on a three-year deal.
In a statement, Widnes said: “Our club is extremely disappointed with this decision, given that we are currently in the middle of recruiting and retaining players ahead of the 2020 campaign and have pre-season training due to start next month.
“The club is in a crucial transitional phase from a full-time to a part-time operation, and this decision naturally presents a number of unwanted issues over the coming weeks.
“The club understands that supporters would prefer an immediate resolution to this issue. However we are determined to conduct a thorough and extensive search to find a coach that is the right person to take Widnes Vikings forward. As a result of this, the club will take all the necessary time and precautions to ensure that an appointment is made in the best interest of the club’s future rather than rushing into a decision.
“The search is now underway to appoint a successor who will be dedicated to the club’s cause, and when a deal is finalised to bring in a replacement an announcement will be made.”
Purtill said: “I’m ecstatic to be heading to Hull. To be back in Super League and have the opportunity to be involved in such a famous and well-supported club is something I’m really looking forward to.
“You get your most fulfilment out of seeing players you coached from a young age progress and become stars. One of the most important aspects of a modern day club is having that right culture and environment to bring through those younger players and that is something I want to play a part in.
“There is a lot of young talent to work with at Hull. Its a great testament to them that they have been so vocal in bringing the reserves back and I’m excited to be part of that strong attitude towards it.”