Tuesday, Essendon coach James Hird has confirmed he has stepped down after the board lost faith in him.
- James Hird was contracted to coach the Bombers next season, but will be released from the third and final year of his contract.
James Hird, who had a year to run on his contract, will be replaced by an interim coach, who will be one of the current assistants, such as Matthew Egan or Hayden Skipworth. Club great and ex-Fremantle coach Mark Harvey will not be the replacement.
“I believe that I am a good coach. My record, even through troubled times, is something that I am proud of. My hesitation in leaving this football club at this time is that I will leave the players in a time they still need strong guidance and care which I hope to continue to provide from a distance.” James Hird said at press conference.
“I’ve always cared deeply for them as people and tried to help them become the best players they can be. By making the decision to stand down I do hope the AFL industry will finally give the players the chance to play football.” he added.
James Hird ‘s resignation has been seen as inevitable following a succession of heavy defeats by the Bombers, who have won only five matches this season, with the only question the extent to which the players’ slump has been caused by the draining impact of the WADA appeal which will be heard be the Court of Arbritration for Sport in November.
James Albert Hird (born 4 February 1973) is a retired professional Australian rules football player and the former senior coach of the Essendon Football Club in the Australian Football League (AFL).
Hird played as a midfielder and half-forward, but was often given free rein by then-Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy to play wherever he thought necessary. Hird is a highly decorated footballer, with accolades including being the winner of the 1996 Brownlow Medal, and a member of the AFL Hall of Fame. In 2008, he was listed by journalist Mike Sheahan as the 20th greatest player of all time in the AFL-commissioned book, The Australian Game of Football.
Hird was appointed as the coach of the Essendon Football Club in September 2010. In August 2013, he was suspended from coaching for 12 months when he was charged by the AFL with conduct prejudicing the game in relation to his role in the Essendon Football Club supplements controversy. He returned to the club following the 2014 season.IMAGE/Getty Images