Dec 5 Pat Lam will leave Connacht to take over as head coach of Bristol next season, replacing the English Premiership club's former director of rugby Andy Robinson who was sacked last month.
Lam, a former Samoa international, led Connacht to the Guinness PRO12 title in 2016, and returns as coach to the league he won as a player with Newcastle Falcons in the 1997-98 season.
"Pat was the outstanding candidate in our search for a new Head Coach and impressed the board with his coaching ability, experience and enthusiasm for the task ahead," Bristol chairman Chris Booy said in a statement.
There will be no other changes to Bristol's coaching set-up, with the club's all-time leading points scorer Mark Tainton, who was named acting head coach after Robinson's exit, set to stay on.
Bristol are bottom of the 12-team Premiership, having lost all 10 matches this season. (Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)