Champion coach bows out on historic high
MARK Wallin has called time on his history-making coaching career.
The 58 year old has been at the helm of the Yeppoon Swans A-grade men’s team for the past seven years.
During his tenure, the team claimed six straight AFL Capricornia flags and won 89 games straight, the most in Aussie rules history.
They claimed the record, which had been held for 44 years by South Australian team Heathfield-Aldgate, in their dramatic 61-point grand final win against BITS Saints three weeks ago.
Wallin said it was an incredible relief.
“When that final siren sounded, I was thinking, thank God we got it done,” he said.
“The record, rather than the premiership, had been the talking point for the last month or more.
“People expected us to get it and it would have been horrible if we’d fallen at the last hurdle.”
Wallin said claiming the record did factor in his thinking but retirement was not a spur of the moment decision.
“I’d been thinking about it (retirement) for the best part of the year, and my wife and I had been talking about it for the past couple of months,” Wallin said.
“One side of me wanted to have a break but the other side was saying no, carry on.
“It was extremely hard. There were mixed emotions, but I knew it was the right decision.
“I felt guilty about leaving straight after we’d reached the record, but I thought it’s time for somebody else to come in and put their spin on things and keep the fire burning.”
Wallin is the consummate professional. By his own admission, he does not tolerate fools and he demanded excellence from his players.
They respected him for it, and they delivered it every time they stepped on the field.
Together they made the AFL Capricornia competition their own.
“We’ve been on a wonderful ride together,” Wallin said.
“It’s an unbelievable story but it’s not over yet, not by a long shot. I think we’ve got enough talent there that it will just keep going.
“I feel really comfortable with my decision to step away now, and I think everybody’s accepted it.
“I’m the sort of the person who won’t get footy out of my veins altogether.
“I think I will have something to do with the club next year, but I don’t know what at this stage. Whatever happens, I will still be there supporting when I can.”