Kelham O'Hanlon was appointed as Preston North End manager on March 19 2002 until the end of the season, having already taken temporary charge for the Lancashire derby match with fellow play-off chasers Burnley.
He stepped into the breach left by David Moyes, who left Deepdale to succeed Walter Smith as Everton manager after four years and much success in charge of Preston.
The club's Chief Executive Tony Scholes said of O'Hanlon's appointment: "Kelham has been doing a very good job as David's assistant over the years and we have every confidence that he is the right man to take us through until the end of the season.
"Continuity is a vital element of our success over the years and it is a decision that removes all the uncertainty surrounding the position.
"There has been considerable press and media speculations as to who might follow David Moyes as our manager. We have already received unsolicited applications from a host of high profile names, some in jobs at present and others looking for a job.
"We did not want any uncertainty to upset the players or the rest of the football club. We can now concentrate on trying for a play-off spot and then planning for next year.
"Kelham has a very good track record and along with Jimmy Lumsden as first team coach, I expect Kelham to be a leading contender to fill the managers' post full-time when we make that decision in the close season," he added.
O'Hanlon himself said: "I am delighted for the players more than anything. They now know what is happening with any uncertainty being taken away. This will enable them to concentrate one hundred percent on winning football matches starting with the game against Crewe on Wednesday night."
Kelham began his professional football career at Middlesbrough after signing from apprentice in 1980.
He joined Rotherham in 1985 and stayed at Mill Moor for six years, making almost 250 appearances, before transferring to Carlisle.
After two years with the Cumbrians, he joined Preston and played for one season at Deepdale before heading back up North, this time to Scotland and Dundee United.
He returned to North End in 1996 and made 13 further appearances before joining the coaching staff, eventually becoming assistant manager to David Moyes.