Cockerill handed new Leicester title

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The Independent Online

Richard Cockerill has signed a new contract with Leicester that sees him retitled as the club's director of rugby.

The restructuring also elevates assistant Matt O'Connor to the position of head coach while Peter Wheeler is named executive director.



"Leicester is a unique club where so many people work very hard to enable the team to compete for major honours," said Cockerill.



"This is one of those special jobs in the world of sport and I feel privileged to be in this position."



Cockerill, who made 262 first-team appearances at hooker for the Tigers, was appointed Leicester's acting head coach upon the departure Heyneke Meyer in February last year.



After a difficult start, he transformed the club's fortunes and guided them to the Aviva Premiership title and a Heineken Cup final.



Along the way he was rewarded by being installed as permanent head coach and last season Leicester successfully defended their league crown.



The 39-year-old former England international has been assisted by O'Connor, who arrived at Welford Road in the summer of 2008 as backs coach.



"Richard and Matt have forged an excellent relationship as a coaching team," said Tigers chairman Peter Tom.



"As a reflection of the progress they have made and their own development, Richard becomes director of rugby and Matt becomes head coach with immediate effect.



"Cockers is Leicester through and through, he knows what makes this such a special place and he is driven to bring success to the club.



"But we have always been receptive to ideas from outside and the link with Matt since he arrived at Leicester has successfully continued that process.



"The expanded roles within these new contracts will allow them to plan the continued development of the playing side at the club."



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