Rugby Canada’s General Manager of Rugby Operations and Performance, Jim Dixon announced today that Rugby Canada will not be renewing the contract of Liam Middleton.
Today’s announcement comes after an extensive review of the National Men’s Sevens Program – which Middleton has been the head coach of since September of 2014 – following a fifth place finish at the last-chance repechage qualifier in Monaco for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
"On behalf of everyone at Rugby Canada, I would like to thank Liam for his service to the organization. Liam has given his all as Head Coach of our Men’s Sevens program and we thank him for his dedication to achieve success. The program has made positive progress in a number of areas under his leadership," said Dixon.
In the interim, Rugby Canada’s current staff will maintain preparations for the 2016-17 World Rugby Sevens Series, including re-centralization in August at the Canadian Rugby Centre of Excellence.
"The future success of this program is reliant on continuing the culture of excellence, commitment and discipline established by Liam. I am 100% confident the program staff, and most importantly the players, will respond to this challenge. The National Men’s Sevens program will recommence in August with the existing program staff overseeing preseason. Our objective is to have a new head coach in place by October 1st," added Dixon.
"There are some outstanding people in the Rugby Canada Men’s Sevens program, who are genuine world class deliverers in their respective fields and I wish them well and look forward to watching their progress," said Liam Middleton following today’s announcement.
"Rugby Canada will conduct a global search for a permanent head coach immediately. It is expected there will be plenty of interest in fulfilling this important role and the necessary time will be taken to find the right candidate," said Allen Vansen, CEO of Rugby Canada.
"We appreciate all that Liam has given our Program over the past 22 months and wish both him and his family the very best moving forward," added Vansen.