TAMAR Saracens have pulled off a major coup by persuading Mike Lewis to join them as head coach for the 2022-23 season.
Lewis will lead a new-look coaching team at the Ernesettle-based club that also features former Royal Navy scrum-half Cory Moore and ex-Sarries and Devonport Services back-rower Arran Webb.
Lewis has just guided Devonport Services to promotion to level five and also to victory in the Devon Senior Shield.
But he stepped down from his role at the Rectory after six years, in which he led Services to two promotions, due to work and family commitments.
Level nine side Sarries, though, have offered him a chance to stay involved in rugby but without quite the same demands on his time.
Lewis already had links with the club as his brother has played for them for years and is their vice-captain.
Lewis will replace fellow former Plymouth Albion player Davy McGregor, who stepped down from the head coach role at Saracens at the end of the season.
Tamar Saracens chairman Dan Leeson said: “We brought Davy in last season and he did a tremendous job for us but unfortunately he had to stand down at the end of the season so we had some big boots to fill.
“I had a little conversation with Mike about what his ideas and plans were for the season and that turned into a bigger conversation.
“Cory had just put a post out on Facebook saying he was looking to get involved with a rugby club. Again, that is an exciting prospect to have someone of Cory’s standard involved in the club.
“And, after a couple of conversations with Mike and Cory, we came up with a plan.
“We were then looking for a forwards coach and Arran has obviously played for us before and so he knows what he is getting into.
“We are really, really excited to have the three of them on board. Things are looking really, really positive.
“We will be giving the players a structure and a base here to improve and with Cory, Arran, Mike and Pete (Lethbridge) overseeing things we have the perfect mix.”
Leeson added: “Cory and Arran are new to coaching but it is an opportunity for them to develop their skills. As a club we are more than happy to put them through their coaching badges. Every coach has to start of somewhere.
“And Mike has a wealth of experience, which is something Cory and Arran are looking to learn from.
“It is a win-win situation for all involved.
“Mike gets to be involved with a club with ambition and a club where his brother is. It will be a little less stress and a little less commitment (than at Services). We know he has a young family, as Cory and Arran also have, but I just think it is a win-win for all of us.”
Lewis, who coached Launceston and Tavistock before taking over at Services, said: “It will probably surprise a few, but when Dan asked me I thought it was a good opportunity to just get involved with a club that has plenty of potential but maybe hasn’t lived up to that for years.
“It also helped that my brother is involved in the team and he had a chat in my ear as well. I just felt I couldn’t not help them out.
“It is one of those things I am excited about. When I was talking to Arran and Cory we all felt it was one of those opportunities we couldn’t let pass by.”
Lewis, whose job outside rugby involves having to work a number of Saturdays, added: “The reason I stepped down (at Services) was I couldn’t commit the time they deserved.
“Here we will have Arran and Cory. Arran is dead keen and with his teaching background I think he’s going to take to it (coaching) like a duck to water and with Cory, with his navy background, playing experience and knowledge within the game, it will mean it is going to be a real easy transition when I can’t make it. I know these boys will just slot in to make sure we get the best out of the players.
“We all have lots of friends down here and that’s why you do it. You don’t play or coach rugby for money – you do it for the love of it.
“Even if you are doing it at a very high level, you are probably only on a couple of quid an hour, so it’s never about money. You do it because you love it and that’s why we are all down here. We want to be here with our mates and helping out.”
Scrum-half Moore started out playing for Plymouth Albion’s development team – the Westcountry Warriors – before going on to play for the likes of Torquay and Brixham and the Royal Navy. He will be backs coach at Sarries.
Webb, who helped Sarries to promotion before joining Devonport Services in 2016, will be the forwards coach, with Lethbridge continuing as director of rugby.