Dave Wessels has stood down as coach at Melbourne Rebels and will now transition to a role covering "all aspects" of the franchise's rugby program for the remainder of his contract.
The club announced Wessels' decision on Friday following a meeting with club chairman Paul Docherty and chief executive Baden Stephenson.
Wessels' future had been the subject of recent speculation following the Rebels' failure to make the Super Rugby AU playoffs following a 3-5 season.
The Rebels will need to find a replacement with the Rebels' trans-Tasman campaign to beginning on May 15.
"Over the past few weeks, I've reflected a lot and I feel the time is right to pass the baton to someone else," Wessels said via a media release. "Living in Melbourne and coaching the Melbourne Rebels has been a wonderful experience. I've learnt an incredible amount, built some really strong friendships and I feel confident that I am leaving the Club in a really good place.
"When I was first appointed interim Head Coach at the Western Force I had the final three games of the 2016 season to start leading and preparing the Club for the future. It gave me the opportunity to gain some valuable experience and test myself without the full responsibility of the job. I would like to give someone else that same opportunity; to test themselves and grow for the next phase in the Club's journey."
A message from Dave Wessels for our members, partners and supporters pic.twitter.com/EIEQJbpt4T— Melbourne Rebels (@MelbourneRebels) April 30, 2021
Stephenson paid tribute to Wessels for his work at the club over the past four years.
"When Dave commenced the role at the end of 2017 it took a very special Coach to lead our Club through a period of intense change and he has done an almighty job to establish and evolve many foundations that the Club will continue to build on in the future," Stephenson said.
"Dave developed Wallabies, identified and unearthed some elite talent, achieved the most successful seasons in the Club's history amongst some very memorable victories. Dave's work ethic, detail, desire, generosity and leadership were hallmarks of his tenure and I look forward to working with him over the coming months to set the Club up for future success."
Melbourne Rebels Chairman Paul Docherty thanked Wessels for his dedication to the Club, especially acknowledging his commitment and leadership during the recent Covid affected seasons. "Dave is one of the finest people going around in Rugby, he is passionate, dedicated and has left nothing on the table in respect to his commitment to our Club.
This is no more evident than during the impacts of COVID across the past two seasons. Dave's leadership and sacrifice during this time was outstanding as he managed the Club through a whole season on the road for over three months last year and a month this year, without his wife and three young children who stayed in Melbourne."