Thompson quits as Cats coach - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Thompson quits as Cats coach

By Greg Buckle 04/10/2010 07:52:10 PM Comments (0)

Brenton Sanderson has emerged as the favourite to replace Mark Thompson as Geelong coach after the two-time premiership mentor stepped down on Monday.

Blinking back tears, Thompson admitted he was letting the AFL club down by calling an end to his stint a year early and said it was the toughest decision of his life.

"I've been here 11 years and it has been the time of my life really. But you just know in your heart when it's time to give up," the club's second-longest serving coach told a press conference at Skilled Stadium.

"Each year has got harder. I just got tired of coaching, I don't want to coach any more."

Thompson revealed last week he was feeling "burnt out" and considering quitting.

His departure comes on the eve of AFL Trade Week.

"The real challenge now is to find a coach who has got that energy and the skills to take the club forward and that's not me," Thompson said.

"I'm walking away from a contract because I don't feel I can give that commitment.

"I'm just pretty much over the job, the day to day, relentless work of it.

"There's a few things in my life I have to fix up, that I want to fix up."

Thompson said he normally would hardly have a day off from early January until mid-October and there was relentless scrutiny.

"As coaches, you're totally absorbed by what you do and in the process you miss family functions, you miss doing certain things.

"I've just got to get back and look after myself a little bit. I'm looking forward to that."

Thompson, who was Essendon's 1993 premiership captain and has the nickname "Bomber", wasn't keen to comment on his coaching future amid reports his former team-mate James Hird wants him on his coaching staff at Windy Hill.

"Look I don't know what I'm going to be doing, end of story. I'm going to look forward to the break, sitting down and thinking through things one step at a time," he said.

Thompson said he had known for about six weeks he was probably going to quit.

But he was determined not to distract the club's 2010 premiership campaign, which ended in a preliminary final loss to eventual premiers Collingwood.

Chief Brian Cook said there were some positives to Thompson's departure, which offered the chance for the club to look to a new era.

"There's also a lot of negatives. We have to get on with life," Cook said.

"If we had a coach next year who was only half-glass full and half an effort, it would be much worse than the position we're in at the moment."

Cook said Thompson would be remembered fondly for delivering Geelong's 2007 flag, their first in 44 years, and another in 2009.

But he issued a blunt warning to Thompson if he did eventually take on a role at another club: "Don't take any of our staff."

Thompson said choosing the time of his departure was important to him, especially when a lot of coaches simply get the sack and then get bitter.

"I know I've let the club down by walking away but we're going to be friends for life because I chose that way," he said.

"A lot of people who do get the sack, they don't end up having a great relationship with that club."

Sportingbet has listed Sanderson as $1.65 favourite with ex-Cats assistant Ken Hinkley, now with Gold Coast, at $2.75 to succeed Thompson.

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