New Napier Technical premier rugby coach Asa Ene admitted it was a tough decision to leave his assistant's role at Napier Old Boys Marist.
"It was tempting to stay there for another season because Craig [Gowler] has done a lot of good work and they are going to be the team to beat again next year. But opportunities to take on a head coach role don't come around often and this one will give me an opportunity to challenge myself a bit more," Ene said.
A former Tech and NOBM premier player, Ene, 34, will have former Chiefs and Magpies prop David Briggs as his assistant with the Texans. They replace long-time co-coaches Steve Lloyd and Steve Woods.
While he would be thrilled if the Whitmore Park-based Tech team can improve on this year's semifinal finish in the Maddison Trophy competition, Ene said his main goal next year will be to introduce a winning culture.
"You get that right and everything else will fall into place. My biggest learning at NOBM was the mental side of things ... they are three or four levels above anyone else in that department."
Although he didn't know if any NOBM players would follow him, he said he wouldn't turn any of them away if they wanted to link up with the Texans.
"Getting this role is a dream come true for me. Since I first played for Tech in the colts grade I've dreamt about coaching the club's premers. It's good to have David [Briggs] on board as my forwards expertise is limited. He has been there and done that and will bring some toughness too."
In the wake of his Tech appointment, Ene will limit his co-coaching and managing role with the Brothers Rugby and Sports Club which has the summer sevens season as its priority.
Tech will be one of two of this year's Maddison Trophy semifinalists to have a new head coach next year. Clive are on the hunt for one as Blair Cross has stepped down to focus on his Hawke's Bay under-19 team coaching role.
Gowler is back for a fifth season with NOBM and will attempt a third consecutive Nash Cup-Maddison Trophy double. Hastings Rugby and Sports have retained the services of co-coaches Bevan Lynch and Tivaini Fomai for a second consecutive year.
Pouri Rakete-Stones snr will be back for a second season with Napier Pirate Rugby and Sports. Len Huia will also be back in charge at MAC but will have two new assistant coaches in Everard Reid and Jackson Waerea.
Taradale will again have the services of former Magpies captains Jason Shoemark and Mutu Ngarimu in their respective head and assistant roles. Former Magpies No 8 Exham Wichman has been retained as Central's head coach.
At Tamatea Matt Marsh, who has a three-year head coach deal, is preparing for his second consecutive season at the helm.
Havelock North are also on the hunt for a new head coach after long-time mentor Murdoch Paewai stepped down.