David Ripley, the most successful head coach in Northamptonshire's history, has announced he will be standing down after ten years in the role at the end of the 2021 season.
Ripley, who took over from the late David Capel in 2012, guided Northamptonshire to two major trophies, the T20 Blast titles in 2013 and 2016, while also overseeing two promotions to the top flight of the County Championship, in 2013 and 2019.
His decision to stand down, at the age of 54, was revealed to the club membership at their Annual General Meeting at Wantage Road on Tuesday evening, where it was also confirmed he will be staying on at the club to take up "a different coaching role".
Ripley informed his players of the decision on Sunday, prior to the start of their ongoing County Championship fixture against Surrey at Northampton. He will remain in charge of the first team for their final two fixtures of the season, at home to Durham this week, and away to Essex in the final round.
Despite some relatively lean years in recent times, Ripley's legendary status is assured at Wantage Road, thanks in particular to the 2013 T20 Blast triumph. In his first full season in charge, he joined forces with club captain Alex Wakely to deliver the county's first silverware in 21 years, and did so in the midst of a financial squeeze at the club, through the early adoption of the sort of data-driven recruitment that is now standard among T20 teams.
That initial side contained a raft of powerful ball-strikers in Richard Levi, Cameron White, Ben Duckett, Josh Cobb and David Willey, and duly overwhelmed Surrey by 102 runs in a rain-affected final at Edgbaston. The same captain/coach combination then cemented their status by guiding Northants to a second Blast title three years later, when Durham this time were edged out by four wickets, again at Edgbaston.
Although Ripley was also successful in helping Northants punch above their weight in first-class cricket with two promotions to the top flight, it was the club's pedigree as a T20 outfit that defined his tenure, and speaking to BBC Northampton, he admitted their shortcomings in this season's Blast campaign had made up his mind, after they finished bottom of the North Group with four wins from 13.
"I have been here before, in 2019 I was challenging myself as to whether I was still taking the group forward," Ripley told BBC Northampton. "Obviously we then got promotion and we had some success, and then some new coaches arrived [John Sadler and Chris Liddle].
"That changed the dynamic a little bit and I fed off that, and we have obviously had the pandemic to get through.
"But when we finished bottom of the T20 league I think that was pretty much me done, and thinking it was time to hand it over to somebody else. I have had my time, I think that is just the bottom line.
"I am fortunate enough to have had some highs, that is why I have done nine years, because if you don't have the highs you don't get too long in the head coach's role.
"But there has been some tough times as well, and I think eventually it has caught up with me." As a lifelong servant of the club, Ripley played 306 first-class matches for Northants between 1984 and 2001, scoring 8,681 runs (with nine hundreds) and claimed 752 dismissals behind the stumps, second only to Keith Andrew in the club's all-time list.
He also played 281 List A matches for the county, and was a member of the side that defeated Leicestershire at Lord's to win the 1992 NatWest Trophy.