Ricky Stuart took a side to a Premiership inside his first year as an NRL coach, as did Michael Hagan. The "you're not experienced" enough tag doesn't wash with me. Experienced coaches such as Brian Smith, Matt Elliott etc. haven't necessarily got the job done either.
His pedigree is very good, a top line player, with experience of the going-ons within the club. And further to that, he has coached a side to a Premier League Premiership, which is no small feat.
For mine, Kempy did a particularly good job in some ways, and a particularly bad job in others. Here's my thoughts:-
Forwards: A well drilled forward pack, arguably in the top 3 best performed packs in 2006.
Defence: Very rarely did the team get drilled in high scoring matches in 2006.
Basics: Handling skills were better, although that could be attributed to the dour play under Kemp.
Fitness: Appeared infinitely more mobile than in 2004.
Attack: Too little width and depth. Too reliant on Steve Price, Ruben Wiki and Stacey Jones. Often the forwards would get the team into the opposition 20, only for the team then to be devoid of ideas, and/or depth to make opportunities.
Selection: Very little punishment for poorly performed players, and very few openings for promising youngsters to build strength, depth, and competition for places. Some selections though were good; the games Sione Faumuina played in the 6 jumper he was good, Lance Hohaia reinvented his career as a hooker.
Interchange: Often being left short at the end of the game, despite having two guys who are experienced in going 60-80 minutes in the front row in Price and Wiki.
Mentality: Inability to close out close games.
In my view, there were enough reasons to keep Kemp, as there were to dismiss him. He didn't really seem to want to push the boundaries, I guess after 2004 he didn't want to risk it too much given the airy fairy style of play that season. Personally, I would have liked to have seen Tony retained within the club in some capacity, perhaps assisting Tony Iro with the development squad - but two things, A: he unarguably wants the top job somewhere and that might not be enough for him B: As Stacey Jones indicates in his book, Kemp had a falling out with Daniel Anderson, and in offence there appeared to be two different lines of thought between Kemp and Cleary which confused the team so his communication skills and ability to manage a group of coaches - which is fundamentally part of the modern coaches role - were probably lacking. He wasn't lacking in honesty to the media, but when you thought there was strength in his words there was very little change in team/tactics from game to game.
While Ivan appears a good choice, I'm mostly disappointed that Kevin Campion has had to return to Australia. It seems two of his key objectives was to increase fitness, and improve the defensive set up. Both of which he achieved with flying colours. For mine, he was the coaching success story of 2005 at the Warriors. That said, Ivan was always being groomed for the top job, has an intricate knowledge of the club on and off the field, as a player and a non-player, has worked with some of the best minds in the game including Gould, Stuart at the Roosters so brings with him that experience, and previous premiership success also.