Bradford Bulls: James Lowes quits Leeds Carnegie for head coach job
Bradford Bulls have named their former hooker James Lowes as head coach.
The 44-year-old leaves his role as boss of Championship rugby union side Leeds Carnegie to return to a club with whom he won two Challenge Cups, three Super Leagues and a World Club Challenge.
He replaces Francis Cummins, sacked last week with the Bulls second bottom of Super League, on a three-year deal.
"It's a bit surreal at the moment but I'm sure once my training kit's on it will be a bit more normal," said Lowes.
Lowes' playing career
- Hunslet: 1987-92
- Leeds: 1992-96
- Bradford: 1996-2003
- St Helens (loan): 2001
- Ireland: 1999-2002
- Great Britain: 1996-2003
"I've been coaching for 10 years now and have a head full of rubbish that I'll try and implement some of."
Lowes joined Bradford from Leeds in 1996 for the inaugural Super League season, and spent seven years with the club.
He scored 84 tries in 205 appearances, and was Man of Steel in 1997.
"This is a club that's special to me, I have some really good memories from playing here," he told BBC Radio Leeds.
"I'll have to assess the squad pretty quickly to see where we need to strengthen.
"I'm not writing this season off, no way, but it's obviously been made into a difficult one because of off-field things.
"It will be a huge challenge, but that's always going to be the case when you're coming into a job because the previous coach has been sacked."
The Bulls were deducted six points in February after going into administration the previous month. That punishment has left them in danger of being one of the two teams relegated to the Championship - they are currently nine points behind third-bottom Salford.
Cummins was named as Mick Potter's successor in February 2013 but won only 14 out of 43 league matches in charge.
Two months ago, Bradford managing director Steve Ferres issued a statement apologising to supporters for what he described as "without any doubt, one of the worst performances by a Super League side" after they lost 84-6 at home to Wigan Warriors.
Lowes, meanwhile, had an impressive 12-month spell with Leeds Carnegie, switching codes after previously working as assistant to Leeds Rhinos boss Brian McDermott and England coach Steve McNamara.
Carnegie narrowly lost out to the eventually promoted London Welsh in the end-of-season play-offs, consigning them to a fifth successive season without Premiership rugby.
The departure of Lowes leaves the club searching for a third coach in four seasons.
"I've only good things to say about Leeds Carnegie, and I feel I've learnt a lot from working in rugby union," Lowes added.
"I'd like to try and bring in the attitude we managed to instil in the squad there last season.
"Who knows, maybe we can sneak a few guys in that can start pushing in the scrum."
He becomes a Super League head coach for a second time, after a nine-month spell at Warrington Wolves from June 2008. His first game in charge will be against the Wire on Sunday.