ON FRIDAY night Coach Alastair Clarkson will become the equal second-longest serving coach in Hawthorn’s history.
Clarkson will equal the 221-game record of four-time premiership coach and Hawthorn great, Allan Jeans when the Hawks run out onto ANZ Stadium to take on the Swans.
After accepting the senior coaching job at the end of 2004, Clarkson has become one of the game’s best strategists and is universally regarded as one of the all-time great coaches.
He has coached the Hawks to two flags – in 2008 and 2013 and 15 finals appearances for 10 wins and five losses.
An innovator, Clarkson was the first coach to implement what is now known as forward pressure, when his team’s forward line is literally the first line of defender. In 2008, it was called ‘Clarko’s Cluster’ and it won him his first premiership with the Hawks.
Of the game’s current day coaches, he is the third longest serving behind Carlton’s Michael Malthouse (626 games) and Essendon’s Mark Thompson (267).
Of the three, Clarkson and Thompson have the equal best winning record on 61.4 per cent. Clarkson has coached Hawthorn to 135 wins, 84 losses and one draw since 2005.
Clarkson coached his 200th AFL match in Round 13 last year.
In March this year, Hawthorn secured Clarkson’s future at the helm with a one-year contract extension that will see him coach until at least the end of the 2015 season.
On the list of longest-serving coaches of all time, Alastair Clarkson comes in at number 30, four games behind Ted Whitten.
Jeans and Clarkson are the equal second longest serving coaches in the Club’s history behind Legend John Kennedy on 299 games.
Jack Hale (146 games) and Peter Schwab (109 games) round out the top five coaches for games served in the Club’s history.