Dan McKellar has signed a new two-year extension with the Brumbies to keep him in Canberra until 2021.
McKellar is the third Australian Super Rugby coach to announce an extension in the space of a week following Dave Wessels (Rebels) and Daryl Gibson (Waratahs) in confirming a new contract.
This is his second season as coach of the Brumbies after taking over from Stephen Larkham in 2018 and McKellar said he was grateful to the club for showing their faith in his future plans.
“I think it’s a vote of confidence, not just in myself but in the program in general, the assistant coaches and the high-performance staff,” he said.
“It’s a sign that Phil Thomson [Brumbies CEO] and the board are happy with the direction the team is heading.
“Obviously from a personal standpoint I’m very grateful. You never take these opportunities for granted to work in professional sport and for a club like the Brumbies, it’s something I’m very proud of.”
McKellar had initially expected to finalise a new deal mid-season but said he was relieved to get the news out of the way before round one.
"I think it's something that doesn't drag on through out the year and now it's just about performance...and transferring the really pleasing things we've done over the preseason both on field and off field and putting on a good performance for our fans," he said.
Thomson said McKellar's willingness to adapt was a positive sign for the future.
“We are very happy to extend Dan’s contract for a further two years up until the end of the 2021 season,” Plus500 Brumbies CEO Phil Thomson commented.
“2018 was a challenging season for Dan and the team and it was a credit to his leadership that we finished the season the way we did. I have been very impressed with the quality of the overall rugby program that has been developed and implemented by Dan and his staff.
“His attention to detail and subtle changes that he has made on the back of learnings from 2018 has created, what I believe, to be a first-class rugby program."
Brumbies captain Christian Lealiifano said McKellar was a great mentor for the group.
"I think it's good for the club to know that they've got some clarity around what he's doing.
"I've personally enjoyed his development and his growth. he'll continue to go from strength to strength as a leader of this place and looking forward to seeing what he produces over this season and the years to come.
"He's really passionate about this place and what he does and he gives all of himself everyday, which is what we love about Dan.
"I think he knows how to get the best out of us and I think he's built a lot on connections with players so he understands what it takes for each individual to perform at their best each day and hopefully trying to finds what works for them and find those triggers."
Thomson said the environment growing under McKellar was a pivotal part of deciding to extend his time in Canberra.
“Dan has helped foster a positive environment for players to develop both on, and off, the field and I believe that it is important that we have stability and continuity within our coaching structure over the next couple of years.
“We are looking forward to this season with enthusiasm and anticipation. We are really hoping that as many of our fans can come out to GIO Stadium this Friday to support the team for the start of what will be a very exciting 2019 Super Rugby season.”
McKellar has been with the Brumbies since 2013, with five years as an assistant before taking the top job.
A former Queensland Premier Grade coach with Souths, McKellar made the move to Canberra in 2011 and coached the Tuggeranong Vikings to back-to-back John I Dent Cup championships.
After a season with Top League side NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes, McKellar joined the Brumbies staff.
The Brumbies take on the Rebels at GIO Stadium on Friday February 15, kicking off at 7:45pm AEDT, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Kayo and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here.