The club announced this morning that Stone, who has been the club’s assistant coach under Bennett since 2012, has been appointed head coach for the next two years.
Stone had been a favourite for the role having joined the club in 2006 as an assistant to Michael Hagan and even took up the head coaching role once before for in 2009 for 54 games before becoming an assistant again in 2012, making way for Bennett.
“Rick has a thorough knowledge of our club and the community, which are qualities we felt important in the head coach position,” Newcastle chief executive Matt Gidley said in a statement.
“It’s great to get another chance to coach the Knights because it’s not often you get a second opportunity to coach at the same club,” Stone added. “We have some exciting times ahead with some great young juniors coming through this year and some more talent not too far away from playing NRL.”
Stone thanked former owner Nathan Tinkler and Wayne Bennett for “giving me a chance to stay on” during while Bennet remained head coach. “I have learnt a lot over the last three years and know it puts me in a good position to take the Knights forward,” he said.
Stone will take up his new role when the season comes to an end.