Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett is standing down at the end of the 2014 Super Rugby season.
Hammett said he and the Hurricanes had chosen to confirm his decision at this stage of the season to allow the club to start recruiting his successor.
“This is a decision I have made after much discussion with my family. It has not been an easy decision, but we feel the time is right for me to step aside after this season,” Hammett said in a statement.
The former All Blacks and Crusaders hooker said he was proud of his contribution to the team and the players over the past three seasons.
The 41-year-old told the franchise before this Super Rugby season began that he would be moving on.
Hurricanes chief executive James Te Puni acknowledged Hammett’s contribution and said he was 100 per cent confident of his commitment to the team for the remainder of the season.
“Mark has worked incredibly hard to create a strong and positive culture here at the Hurricanes,” Te Puni said.
“We are looking forward to the remainder of the season and will be in full support of Mark and the team.”
Hurricanes chairman Brian Roche said a recruitment process, in conjunction with New Zealand Rugby, would begin soon.
“While we will need to explore our future coaching options soon, we remain fully supportive of Mark and the team in keeping our sights on the 2014 priority to continue to lift performance.”
The Hurricanes currently sit eighth on the Super Rugby table, with three wins and four losses.
Hammett replaced Colin Cooper as Hurricanes coach at the end of the 2010 season, and survived a turbulent 2011 as the franchise lost All Blacks Piri Weepu, Aaron Cruden, Ma’a Nonu, Hosea Gear and Andrew Hore to other franchises.
They finished ninth overall that year, edging up to eighth in 2012 and 11th last year.