Mike Mullins and the North Otago Rugby Union have parted ways by mutual consent following a season that saw the Old Golds fall to a narrow 14-12 loss to Wanganui in the Lochore Cup final last month.
The Old Golds mustered five wins and five losses throughout a frustrating campaign and the union are yet to begin the process of replacing Mullins.
North Otago Rugby Union ceo Colin Jackson wished Mullins well following his latest two year stint.
“We will start the process of looking for a new North Otago Heartland coach in December,” he said.
“We are very appreciative of the hard work that Mike has put into North Otago Rugby over the last two years culminating in the team making two finals. We wish Mike all the best as he pursues prospective coaching opportunities”.
Despite the disappointing season, Mullins, who won 16 caps for Ireland, has enjoyed success with North Otago after taking up the player-coach role in 2006, reaching the Meads Cup semi-final before winning the competition as coach in 2007.
The former inside centre returned as player-coach in 2008 and lost out to Mid Canterbury in the Meads Cup semi-final before winning the Lochore Cup in 2009.
Mullins took up the coaching position again last season as the Old Golds narrowly lost out in the Meads Cup final 26-20 against Mid Canterbury in Ashburton.
Mullins confirmed last month that he had applied for the coaching position at Otago which Tony Brown vacated at the end of the season to move to the Highlanders.
Otago Rugby Football Union general manager Richard Kinley said there had been good range of interest in the role with a total of 32 local, national and international applicants that are currently being short listed ahead of the interview process.
Mike Mullins was unavailable for comment yesterday.
By JAMES FORD
PHOTO: FILE – Mike Mullins.