Tom Coventry will coach North Harbour in their 2017 Mitre 10 Cup Premiership campaign.
The union have wasted little time in replacing Blues-bound Steve Jackson, who guided them, in stirring fashion, to the Championship title just a fortnight ago.
Coventry, who will be assisted by 2016 assistant coach Daniel Halangahu, is a vastly experienced coach, and is not long back from a stint at UK club London Irish.
Things didn't work out for him there, the Exiles being relegated from the Premiership, and he has since been back in Waikato, relief teaching at Hamilton BHS. There is still speculation he may be a candidate for the soon to be vacant Chiefs head coaching role in 2018.
Waikato-born and raised, Coventry played 52 games for the province from 1988-94, scoring 14 tries, and winning the NPC in 1992 before his coaching career began with Otago University. Since then he's had successful roles with New Zealand Schools, four years (2008-11) as co-head coach of Hawke's Bay, where they won the ITM Cup Championship division, and four years (2012-15) at the Chiefs as assistant to Dave Rennie, where they won two Super Rugby titles.
"The timing was great," Coventry said. "I wanted to come back to NZ, and with Steve's departure, an opportunity arose to join Harbour and keep the momentum going from this year. I had a coffee with Daniel and he told me about the culture of the union, the great group of guys in the squad, that they're ambitious, and there is a lot of good in the union right now which I'm keen to build on. There are lots of positives which is great for a new coach."
He said retaining Halangahu as his assistant was an easy decision.
"Daniel is highly respected in the province, he's very analytical and experienced, having played Super Rugby for the Waratahs, and after the success of 2016, provides continuity, so it just made sense."
North Harbour director of rugby Russell Hilton-Jones said Coventry was a perfect fit.
"We wanted to keep the momentum going following the success of 2016 and Steve Jackson's excellent work with the side, and so put together a profile of what we were after, in the hope that we would find someone of Tom's quality. Based on that profile, he was the perfect candidate and we're very excited to have him on board."