Saints Academy boss Dusty Hare has announced he is to leave Franklin’s Gardens at the end of September.
Former Leicester and England full-back Hare has been at Saints since January 2010, overseeing the club’s Academy system and helping recruit new players.
In that time, Saints Academy graduates have included half-a-dozen World Rugby Under-20 Championship winners, all of whom have gone on to establish careers in professional rugby, and several more first team regulars at Franklin’s Gardens.
However, after spending several decades in youth development, the 64-year-old says that he is looking forward to relaxing and watching the game for enjoyment.
“It’s difficult to know when it’s right to finish, but after a holiday I’ve decided that now is the time to step away,” said Hare.
“I’ve been at the Saints for seven-and-a-half years and it will be good for the club to have a fresh pair of eyes.
“We’re in good shape, with plenty of talented players coming through.
“We’ve had a lot of players come through over the past seven years, the Academy is a lot stronger than it was, and I am proud of what we have achieved.
“I might have been the Academy manager, but our success has been built on the hard work of many people, not least Simon Sinclair, Jon Curry and Ross Stewart.
“Not only has the Academy system developed players, it’s also developed two coaches – Alan Dickens and Mark Hopley – who are now both working with the first team.
“I’m very proud of their achievements, too, and of the work they did in the Academy.
“I would also like to thank everyone at the Saints who made me welcome at Franklin’s Gardens, especially all of the supporters, as well as the Barwell family, who have done a fantastic amount for the club.
“I wish Jim, the coaches, the staff and all the players every success this season and in the future.”
Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder paid tribute to Hare, and said: “Dusty has been a tremendous servant to Northampton Saints
“It is really important to have a successful youth system, and it is testament to the work that Dusty has done that we have a regular flow of Academy graduates into the first team squad.
“His knowledge of the game, and passion for developing young players, is second to none, and we will miss him at Franklin’s Gardens.”
The recruitment process for a new Academy manager has already begun, with announcements to be made in due course.