Departing coach Lee bidding to go out on a high by leading Bradford Dudley Hill to promotion (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Departing coach Lee bidding to go out on a high by leading Bradford Dudley Hill to promotion
Promotion beckons for Bradford Dudley Hill with two matches of the Division One campaign remaining and head coach Jason Lee is eyeing a fairytale ending to the season.
The former Wales international, 41, who has served the club with distinction as a player and enjoyed a fine career at Warrington Wolves, Keighley Cougars, Halifax and Doncaster, is to step down after four years in the post.
A decade ago ago, Lee and Hill chairman Kelvin Lockett took charge of an under-tens side that went on to bear much fruit, including current Bulls star John Bateman.
Lee, now a teacher at Bradford Academy, said: “I’ve been involved with Dudley Hill really since I moved up from Wales.
“I started playing there and Andy Harland was responsible for me signing for Warrington.
“Even when I moved over there I would always pop down when I came back to Bradford.
“When I moved back to Bradford, Kelvin and I started the under-tens in 2001-02 and I’ve been here ever since.
“We’re in a really healthy state from a club point of view and myself and Kelvin have been responsible for bringing a lot of players through.
“Obviously John has gone on to bigger and better things but there are six kids in our first team who were in the under-tens side that Kelvin and I started.
“That’s fantastic for us and is the biggest thrill for me. Seeing the rewards of what we started when they were babies basically.
“But I think I’ve done my time now; it’s time to let someone else have a go.
“I’m sure I’ll be involved in that process of choosing my successor. I’m not walking away from the club, I’m just calling my time on coaching.
“There are that many people involved with the club and I’d like to still be involved somewhere along the line, even if it’s just cutting the grass.
“It’s a family club and I’m part of it. My sons have played for Dudley Hill and we’ve produced a lot of players who have gone on to bigger and better things.”
Significantly, several of Hill’s squad have earned representative honours this year, with Nathan Kitson and David Dunwell in the English Lions party currently touring Canada.
Their involvement has angered Lee, however, as it has deprived him of two of his best players when the club are fighting for promotion.
Lee said: “The people responsible for this need to take a real good look at themselves.
“It wasn’t just this tour of Canada, it was five games through the middle of the season when I was without players.
“To go on tour with two weeks of the season to go, when teams are fighting relegation and promotion, beggars belief.
“I’m a great believer in the international game, don’t get me wrong, but for goodness sake, let’s have it at the end of the season or mid-season like when the England team play the Exiles.”
Nevertheless, promotion remains within Hill’s grasp and achieving that feat would be a fitting way to mark Lee’s time at the helm.
He added: “There are two games left and three of six teams can get promoted, which says everything about the strength of the competition.
“We’re in a great position but we’ve been in great positions before and have let ourselves down.
“I hope I’ve put a mindset into the players about what they can achieve because there is a good group here.
“There are some good individuals with a lot of skill and if we win our two games we could possibly go up as champions, which would be great for me personally but also for the club.
“If we slip up and win only one then it’s in the lap of the gods.”