PORT Adelaide assistant coach and former Essendon player Dean Bailey has been appointed Melbourne coach for the next three years.
In a bizarre development, the unofficial announcement of the appointment was made at a press conference by Port Adelaide coach Mark Williams after journalists asked why Bailey was not in attendance.
“I’m not sure if I’m here to announce that Dean’s the new Melbourne coach, but he is,” Williams said in Adelaide.
“It’s a great appointment by them and he’s very worthy of the job. We’re very happy for him, but obviously that means he doesn’t coach with us anymore.”
The appointment was then confirmed by Melbourne in a brief media release.
Bailey said on Friday: "I am absolutely thrilled
to get this opportunity. I have worked hard for a long time to get to be a
senior coach and to achieve that goal at a club with all the history of Melbourne is truly a dream
"The selection process was extremely
professional, and the fact I was able to get from responding to their newspaper
advertisement to being on a short list with some of the game's most talented
people was an honour in itself, but to get the appointment is fantastic.
"There is a solid base to build on
from the work done by Neale Daniher and Chris Fagan, but I will be working hard
with all the players and key staff to get the club onto a fresh and positive
"We will have a strong group of young
and talented players capable of playing vigorous, competitive and exciting
football. I see this group as being very coachable, and I see myself as a
teacher and developer.
"Successful teams see each and every
day as an opportunity to improve, to train and prepare professionally, and to
understand the game and the role everyone plays in that game. For me and
everyone else at the club, opportunities start today, and I look forward to
seizing those opportunities."
Demons chairman Paul Gardner said Bailey
was a unanimous choice.
"He has made an enormous effort to
develop himself as a senior coach and has benefited from his time with very
successful AFL people such as Kevin Sheedy, Mark Williams, Denis Pagan and
Alistair Clarkson, as well successful figures at the Institute of Sport,
soccer, and basketball.
"Just as our club did last year, Dean
has also gone out of his way to visit successful clubs in the English Premier
League, and to continue with post-graduate studies.”
Gardner said Melbourne “had originally
intended to finalise the appointment with Dean over the weekend and inform
other candidates, but after Port Adelaide confronted Dean about his future, we
had to fast track the process and secure Dean’s services and talk to all other
contenders prior to our announcement today.”
Bailey beat four other applicants in the final race to win the position
- departing Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy, Hawthorn assistant coach
Damien Hardwick, former Fremantle coach Chris Connolly and Melbourne's
caretaker coach Mark Riley.
Bailey played 53 games for the Bombers between 1986 and 1992 and coached Mr Gravatt in Queensland before returning to Essendon in a development role in 2000, which brought a premiership to Windy Hill.
He joined Port Adelaide in 2002 and was part of the Power's 2004 premiership-winning coaching panel.