IT has been just over a month since Keighley RUFC confirmed Dan McGee as their director of rugby, but he insists the head coach role is still his priority.

Keighley were back in action for the first time ahead of the new season over the weekend, winning the annual Skiptens tournament, and the club have a schedule they are pleased with ahead of new Counties One Yorkshire season starting next month.

McGee, who teaches as his day job, must be one of the busiest men in Keighley, but is relishing the responsibility at the club he loves.

He told the Keighley News: “I’ve been here since I was seven or eight, so I’ve got a lot of affiliation with the club and a lot of love for the club.

“Everyone cares here and it’s a great place to be during the week and on a Saturday.

“You’ll have odd days in the depths of winter where you might wish you were elsewhere but one of the great things is that nothing is all on one person at the club.

“People are always picking up roles and helping, and what I do here doesn’t feel like a chore or work to me.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: There is a great team spirit down at Keighley.There is a great team spirit down at Keighley. (Image: John Ashton.)

Reflecting on how he is coping with the extra workload, McGee said: “It’s been a good step up, but I covered a lot as head coach too.

“I worked closely with (former head of rugby) Russ Gibson then, so this is just a natural transition.

“I’ve stepped up and allowed Russ to take a bit of a step back, so he can still work here, but also spend more time watching his son play for Otley.

“As director, I’m just building on what Russ has done already.”

This role may be new, but McGee has been in the hotseat at Rose Cottage since 2018, following an initial spell from 2015 to 2017, and he said: “The head coach role is still my priority.

“I've been doing different things as director of rugby but I love coaching, and I want to help the club keep growing on that front.

“There’ll be no step back from me on that and I’ll still be on the frontline.”

McGee was absent on Saturday though due to being on holiday, but his much-trusted coaching staff helped guide Keighley to silverware anyway.

He is positive about pre-season, saying: “We’ve got an extended build-up this season, whereas last year we only had one pre-season game, just from sides pulling out of fixtures.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Keighley enjoyed a good season last year despite a less than ideal build up.Keighley enjoyed a good season last year despite a less than ideal build up. (Image: JT Sports Media.)

“We were keen to ensure a good build-up and wanted to show our support to Skipton again by entering that tournament at the weekend.

“I was on holiday but I left the squad in capable hands, and while we put in a mixed performance on the day, we pulled together and won the final.”

Moving forward, McGee said: “We’ve built a connection with Clitheroe and we go there for a friendly on August 19, and they’re training with us this week.

“It allows us to work on scrums and lineouts, which is just easier with another team, and we’ve done it with Bradford & Bingley and Old Grovians in the past.

“Gaz Lewis has left his role at Huddersfield to become Cleckheaton’s head coach (Thiu Barnard stepping down after five years in charge at Moorend) and being a good friend of mine, we had a catch up and decided that would be a good Thursday night fixture on August 24.

“It allows us a couple of tough games before the season, and we won’t be underestimating either opponent.”