Gareth Lewis as signed a new contract as head coach of Huddersfield Rugby Union Club for the next two seasons.
The 38-year-old has been at the heart of Lockwood Park success in recent seasons and is currently inspiring a promotion challenge in National 2 North.
Huddersfield are fourth in the table on 74 points but they are just three points behind leaders Fylde with two matches in hand – and they have a game in hand on both Chester (76 points) and Hull Ionians (74 points).
Lewis said: “I’m delighted to continue as head coach next season.
“I firmly believe this is the most talented group of players we’ve had in over five seasons and the team spirit is outstanding.
“I’ve always said how proud I am to coach my hometown club and I have to thank my family for the support they give me, which allows me to do what I do.”
Huddersfield visit sixth-placed Hinckley for a tough test on Saturday but are bidding to notch a seventh successive win.
“We are not feeling any pressure whatsoever and we are just excited about where this season takes us,” said Lewis, who appointed experienced forward Dickie Piper as captain this season, with Lewis Bradley the vice-captain.
“The atmosphere around the club and its support is fantastic, and the players deserve all the credit.
“The boys have been incredible this season and my decision to continue is based around this group of players – I’m excited about how good they can become.
“Where this season takes us remains to be seen, but next season will be a bigger challenge for many reasons, so we must not stand still and continue to evolve as a club.
“Exciting developments are already taking place on and off the field, and we look forward to making some announcements in the coming months.
“A number of players have contacted us about joining us in recent months, but they must buy into the club culture that the players, coaches, management and supporters have created together.”
Lewis took over as head coach when Dan Hyde left in 2013.
In his first season, the club won 20 of 26 matches to lift the National 3 North title, and they following year they consolidated with eighth position in National 2 North.
A relegation season followed in 2015-16, when Huddersfield simply couldn’t get going and won only seven of 30 matches.
Normal service was resumed in 2016-17 when Lewis guided Huddersfield to a second National 3 North title with a 100% record of 26 wins from 26 matches and, last season, he won the National Coaches Association divisional Coach of the Year award as Field finished sixth in National 2 North .
This season, Field have 14 wins already from 20 matches and are poised to potentially reach their highest ever level in the game – the single-division National 1.
As coach, Lewis has notched 96 wins from 162 matches for a victory ratio of 59%.
After initially starting at Huddersfield YMCA, Lewis came through Huddersfield’s Age Grade section, making his first-team debut as an 18-year-old under then Director of Rugby Simon Irving.
Following two successful seasons he was recruited into the Leeds Tykes Academy where he worked under future England head coach Stewart Lancaster.
Lewis, who represented Yorkshire, was then approached by Kevin McCallion at Halifax RUFC, where he became an established National League flanker, winning league titles, National and County Cups.
Following the demise of Halifax he made the step up to the Championship to play for Manchester before then club coach Mark Sowerby brought him back to his hometown club Huddersfield.
The club’s chair of rugby, Paul Sharrock, commented: “We are naturally very pleased that Gaz Lewis has agreed terms to continue in his role.
“He has been here for five years and, although we had one relegation three years ago, we backed Gaz to get us straight back up to National 2 North, which we did by winning every league game.
“Last year, we successfully consolidated our position and, currently, we find ourselves close to the top of the division.”
He added: “Gaz is fully committed to seeing Huddersfield compete at the highest level possible, and now has a highly-organised and talented squad of young and experienced players, supported by the club’s two other senior teams and by players who have progressed through our Academy and Age Grade sections.
“The agreed contract is for two years, reflecting the club’s confidence that we have secured the right man for the role, and we look forward with confidence.”