Glenn Barraclough has wished Cougars well after admitting he was ready for a change following eight years on the club’s coaching staff.
The long-serving assistant has quit Keighley after working the best part of a decade for the club under four different bosses since Peter Roe recruited him in 2005.
Barraclough, who revealed he had considered stepping down when Jason Demetriou left in 2012, said: “After eight years, I felt it was time for a fresh face, a fresh voice and fresh ideas and I want to enjoy family time.”
The 47-year-old leaves the club on good terms with a life membership and will be back to watch them in action.
He said: “I agreed with most of (head coach) Paul March’s ideas but the role is time consuming – spectators might not always be aware of how much is involved, with things like DVD reviews and previews for games.
“It was taking a lot of time and I have a young family and want to take time out to freshen myself up.
“I am sure I will be back down there watching games and seeing old faces.
“Paul didn’t want me to leave but I just felt the time was right. I wish them well and hope they can keep away from the dogfight at the bottom.”
Barraclough experienced highs and lows during his time at Cougar Park, including promotion and relegation under Barry Eaton and another promotion under Demetriou.
The highlight of his spell was under the Australian, who guided Cougars to second in Championship One and then secured a top-six finish in the higher tier the year after.
“JD was a fantastic coach, who was such a driven man professionally,” said Barraclough.
“His work ethos was second to none. In a club like Keighley he made a massive difference, doing a lot of unseen work. He raised the whole club. Right from the directors to the staff, everyone got on board.”
Demetriou’s exit saw other high-profile players such as Sam Obst, Michael Korkidas and Semi Tadulala leave but Barraclough felt the departure of the player-coach was the only major loss on the field.
He said: “There was a big change of personnel but JD was the one player we missed. He had a way of getting us over the line in tight games.
“I was going to leave when JD left but he said ‘do another year with Paul and help him out’.”
With the stakes being raised this season following the RFL’s league restructuring plans, Barraclough is hoping Cougars can improve on last season’s 11th-place Championship finish in what he warns will be an “awfully tough division”.
He said: “Paul Handforth can make a massive difference if we can keep him fit. He can be the general on the pitch – we missed that last year. He is very driven and passionate and can allow Paul (March) to concentrate more on what he does.”
Meanwhile, Barraclough is looking forward to having more time on Sundays to watch his son Toby play for the under-nines at West Bowling, whom he also coaches.
The former Bradford Northern hooker was in charge of the senior side at the amateur outfit for well over a decade and still turns out on occasion for the second team along with his eldest son, Luke.
* Tickets for Mike Smith’s film, Cougarmania – The Movie, can be purchased by calling Graham on 07801-922460. The documentary is being shown at the Keighley Playhouse on Thursday, February 13 (8pm). Proceeds will go towards James Feather's testimonial fund.