181. Chris Fagan

AFL 2001 Media - Melbourne Team Portraits

Overall Contribution Inductee

Hobart/Sandy Bay/Devonport/North Hobart/Tassie Mariners/Melbourne/Hawthorn/Brisbane Lions, Player/Coach/Administrator, 1978-2018

 

PLAYING CAREER

  • Around 130 games for Hobart, 1978-82
  • Around 100 games for Sandy Bay, 1983-87
  • Around 40 games for Devonport, 1988-89
  • Around 20 games for North Hobart, 1990
  • Hobart TANFL premiership, 1980
  • Devonport TFL Statewide League premiership, 1988
  • Hobart Best and Fairest, 1981
  • Sandy Bay Best and Fairest, 1985
  • Sandy Bay Leading Goalkicker, 1983 (56), 1984 (34), 1985 (50)
  • 12 representative matches for Tasmania
  • Tasmanian Teal Cup (U18) representative, 1978

COACHING/ADMINISTRATION CAREER

  • North Hobart Assistant Coach, 1991-92
  • Sandy Bay senior coach, 1993-94 (39 Games: 18 Wins, 21 Losses)
  • Tassie Mariners coach (State U18), 1995-97
  • Melbourne AFL reserves coach, 1998-99 (44 Games: 30 Wins, 13 Losses, 1 Draw)
  • Melbourne assistant coach, 2000-04
  • Melbourne General Manager Football Operations, 2005-07
  • Hawthorn Head of Coaching and Development, 2008-13
  • Hawthorn General Manager of Football Operations, 2013-16
  • Brisbane Lions Senior coach, 2017-Present (22 Games: 5 Wins, 17 Losses)

 

One of the finest all-round contributors to the game of football that Tasmania has produced, Chris Fagan enjoyed a fine playing career before successfully turning his hand to coaching and administration.

Born in 1962, Chris Fagan spent the early part of his life in Queenstown on Tasmania’s west coast. A talented footballer in his own right, Chris represented Tasmania at the 1978 Teal Cup competition in Adelaide aged 16, and was subsequently invited to have a trial match with Essendon. Although the VFL dream didn’t work out, Fagan was nevertheless destined for big things in football, and joined TANFL club Hobart in 1978. Over five seasons and 130 games Fagan’s impact at the Tigers as a fine rover/forward pocket was significant, playing in the 1980 premiership, winning the Best and Fairest the following season and representing his state for the first of 12 occasions. In 1983 he joined Sandy Bay and spent five years with the Seagulls, claiming a Best and Fairest there too as well as three consecutive club goalkicking awards. After his work as a teacher saw him transferred to Sheffield in 1988, Fagan continued his career with Devonport, playing a key role in their 1988 Statewide League premiership before retiring after one final season with North Hobart after more than 250 senior games.

Upon retirement, Fagan turned his attention to coaching, firstly as an assistant at North Hobart under Mark Yeates. Fagan’s two years at the Demons in 1991-92 both resulted in premierships, and in 1993 he embarked on his first senior role with former club Sandy Bay. Fagan led the Seagulls for two years, including the club’s last finals appearance in 1994, before he was appointed as the inaugural coach of the Tassie Mariners in the TAC Cup competition, a role he would hold until 1997. During his final season with the Mariners, Fagan circulated his resume around every AFL club in the hope of gaining an opportunity in development. The move paid off, with new Melbourne coach Neale Daniher appointing Fagan as coach of the Demons’ reserves, a role Fagan would hold until the disbanding of the reserves competition after the 1999 season. After spending the next five years as a senior assistant under Daniher, Fagan was approached by newly appointed Hawthorn coach – and good friend – Alastair Clarkson to head up the Hawks’ football department. Though tempted, Fagan declined, as he was reluctant to abandon Daniher, who had given him his big break. Daniher’s sacking in mid-2007 broke this link however, and as a result Fagan headed to the Hawks in 2008 as Director of Coaching and Development. In this role he was responsible for the appointment and training of many assistant coaches who would go on to successful senior coaching careers, including Damian Hardwick, Luke Beveridge and Brendon Bolton, and gained a name as one of the foremost developmental minds in the game.

After temporarily serving as Hawthorn’s GM of Football in mid-2013, Fagan was appointed to the position permanently at season’s end, finally landing the role Clarkson had wanted him for eight years earlier. Fagan went on to enjoy great success in this endeavour, playing a key role in Hawthorn capturing their premiership hat-trick of 2013-15, however he still harboured ambitions to coach at the highest level, and in late-2016 that ambition was realised when he was appointed as Justin Leppitsch’s successor at the Brisbane Lions. His tough but fair approach and aptitude for nurturing young talent paid immediate dividends, with the young Lions scoring a thrilling two-point win over arch rivals Gold Coast in his first match in charge.