Paul Smith has decided to step down as head coach of the Cheshire Jets, after two spells with the BBL side.

Assistant coach John Lavery has been handed the role of head coach for the new season, as Smith will now concentrate on a new venture called ‘headcoach’. A motivational workshop launched by the Cheshire Jets.

“It was a tough decision, but it was the right decision,” Smith admitted to the Chester Chronicle. “I was disappointed I wasn’t able to bring silverware back to Chester before I stepped down because last time I stood down they were at the top.”

Smith led Cheshire to a fourth place finish last season, but they bowed out in the playoff semi-finals against the eventual winners, Mersey Tigers.

The former coach though knows that the Jets franchise is in good hands with close friend, Lavery.

“I have known John for 30 years, we’re best friends. He knows the game as well as anyone and the players respect him so I am confident that he can keep the team going the right way,” Smith said.

Lavery, who was a former England international is thrilled at his new opportunity, but admits that it came as a shock: “It was a bit of a surprise when Paul (Smith) and Pete (Hawkins) told me what was happening. It is something I have wanted to do for a long time and the opportunity was too good to turn down.”

Lavery has already begun plans for the new season. American center Matt Schneck, who starred for the Jets last term is a top priority. But it is rumoured that Plymouth Raiders are also interested in the player.

“The playing staff will be a bit different but at the moment we are working on who we would like to keep,” Lavery commented.