Denis Pagan

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Denis Pagan
Personal information
Full name Denis Pagan
Date of birth (1947-09-24) 24 September 1947 (age 67)
Original team Carlton U19
Height/Weight 183cm / 85kg
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1967–1974
1975–1976
Total
North Melbourne
South Melbourne
120 (5)
23 (0)
143 (5)
Coaching career3
Years Club Games (W–L–D)
1993–2002
2003–2007
Total
North Melbourne
Carlton
240 (150–90–0)
104 (25–77–2)
344 (175–167–2)
1 Playing statistics correct to end of 1976 season.
3 Coaching statistics correct as of 2007.
Career highlights

Denis Pagan (born 24 September 1947) is a former Australian rules football coach and player in the VFL/AFL.

Playing career[edit]

Pagan played 120 games for the North Melbourne Football Club between 1967 and 1974, kicking 5 goals, mainly due to his permanent spot as a hard-nosed defender in the back pocket. He represented Victoria in interstate matches in 1971.

After the Grand Final loss to Richmond in 1974, Pagan was pushed out by Barassi. Although Pagan's dwindling form and the club's reassessment of its squad in the aftermath of 1974 loss, Pagan then moved back to his original roots (excepting Carlton, where Barassi expelled him in 1966) to South Melbourne for two seasons, 1975–1976, playing 23 games and kicking 0 goals. However, these events did not deter Pagan from his dedication to the North Melbourne football club, despite Barassi's authoritative coaching style.

In 1978, Pagan played for Port Melbourne in the Victorian Football Association.[1]

Coaching career[edit]

Early coaching career[edit]

Pagan's coaching career began when he took the role of captain-coach of the Yarraville Football Club in the VFA second division in 1979. He piloted the team to the 1980 minor premiership and Grand Final, but the club lost the Grand Final against Brunswick.[2] Pagan then returned to North Melbourne, and had great success as its Under-19s coach over the following decade. Pagan led the team to nine consecutive Under-19s Grand Finals from 1983–1991, resulting in five premierships: in 1984, 1987, 1988, 1990 and 1991.[3] After the AFL's Under-19s competition was disbanded at the end of 1991, Pagan was signed by the Essendon Football Club, where he led its reserves team to the Victorian State Football League premiership in 1992.[4]

North Melbourne Football Club[edit]

Pagan returned again to North Melbourne in 1993, and was appointed senior coach. He had an immediate impact at the Kangaroos, taking the side to premierships in 1996 and 1999.

He was known for pioneering a successful tactic which was termed "Pagan's Paddock", based around his key forwards Wayne Carey and John Longmire. The coaching strategy involved moving all forwards out of the 50-metre arc and midfielders bombing the ball into empty space. The key forwards would run with the flight of the ball to take a mark or running goal.

By the end of his term at North Melbourne, he had established an impeccable reputation as a senior AFL coach and the longest serving coach in the club's history. His worst season at North Melbourne was 2001, when the club missed the finals for the only time during his 10-year term at the club.

Pagan quit the North Melbourne Football Club at the end of the 2002 season, despite the team far-exceeding all expectations in finishing 7th – which was never expected after Wayne Carey left the club at the beginning of the year after his much-publicised affair – to sign a lucrative deal with the Carlton Football Club.

Carlton Football Club[edit]

At the end of 2002, Pagan was appointed coach of the Carlton Football Club, replacing Wayne Brittain, under whom Carlton had won the wooden spoon in 2002; Brittain had a year remaining on his contract, and was paid out by the club. Pagan's attempt to rebuild the side was not helped by the fact the club had been hit with salary cap breaches which prevented the club from rebuilding its playing list in the short term. In 2003, Carlton endured another unsuccessful season, finishing fifteenth. Employing a recycled player policy in an attempt to rebuild the team for the 2004 season, Pagan led Carlton to eleventh on the ladder, which was Carlton's highest placing under Pagan, and carried this into a pre-season premiership in the 2005 Wizard Cup. However, this proved to be a false dawn, and Pagan led Carlton to consecutive wooden spoons in 2005 and 2006. There were talks that he may have been sacked at this point; however, it was decided to extend his contract until the end of the 2008 season.

Carlton did not improve much in 2007, finishing fifteenth. Between Rounds 12 and 16, Carlton suffered five consecutive heavy defeats, the last of which was a 117-point defeat at the hands of the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba. It would prove to be the nail in the coffin for Pagan and his job, and he was sacked on 23 July 2007.[5] He was not bitter at the club's decision, and wanted to go on record that he would never have quit as the coach of the Carlton Football Club. Pagan was replaced by assistant coach Brett Ratten as caretaker coach for the reminder of the 2007 season, who was eventually appointed full-time coach of Carlton. Pagan had a year to go on his contract which was paid out in full by the club. Pagan later stated in the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper that coaching Carlton was "a very difficult assignment", also taking into consideration the fact that the club had lost valuable draft picks in the wake of the salary cap breaches.[6]

Post coaching career[edit]

In 2008, Pagan became a board member for North Melbourne however after the 2008 season he left the position, and he has since had no involvement in football. He currently works as a real estate agent alongside his son Ryan at Stockdale & Leggo Essendon.[4]

Statistics[edit]

Playing statistics[edit]

[7]
Legend
 G  Goals  B  Behinds  K  Kicks  H  Handballs  D  Disposals  M  Marks  T  Tackles
Season Team # Games G B K H D M T G B K H D M T
Totals Averages (per game)
1967 North Melbourne 45 7 2 5 55 1 56 11 0.3 0.7 7.9 0.1 8.0 1.6
1968 North Melbourne 26 16 3 4 243 8 251 53 0.2 0.3 15.2 0.5 15.7 3.3
1969 North Melbourne 17 19 0 0 295 10 305 69 0.0 0.0 15.5 0.5 16.1 3.6
1970 North Melbourne 17 17 0 0 274 20 294 63 0.0 0.0 16.1 1.2 17.3 3.7
1971 North Melbourne 17 16 0 0 278 20 298 65 0.0 0.0 17.4 1.3 18.6 4.1
1972 North Melbourne 17 18 0 0 280 13 293 66 0.0 0.0 15.6 0.7 16.3 3.7
1973 North Melbourne 17 12 0 0 146 13 159 22 0.0 0.0 12.2 1.1 13.3 1.8
1974 North Melbourne 17 15 0 0 171 19 190 17 0.0 0.0 11.4 1.3 12.7 1.1
1975 South Melbourne 6 7 0 0 77 7 84 10 0.0 0.0 12.8 1.2 14.0 1.7
1976 South Melbourne 6 16 0 0 165 24 189 27 0.0 0.0 10.3 1.5 11.8 1.7
Career 143 5 9 1984 135 2119 403 0.0 0.1 14.0 1.0 14.9 2.8

Coaching statistics[edit]

[8]
Denotes seasons in which Pagan won an AFL Premiership
Season Team Games Coached Wins Losses Draws Points % Ladder Position League Teams
1993 North Melbourne 21 13 8 0 61.9% 3 15
1994 North Melbourne 24 14 10 0 58.3% 3 15
1995 North Melbourne 25 16 9 0 64.0% 6 16
1996 North Melbourne 25 19 6 0 76.0% 2 16
1997 North Melbourne 25 14 11 0 56.0% 7 16
1998 North Melbourne 25 18 7 0 72.0% 1 16
1999 Kangaroos 25 20 5 0 80.0% 2 16
2000 Kangaroos 25 15 10 0 60.0% 4 16
2001 Kangaroos 22 9 13 0 40.9% 13 16
2002 Kangaroos 23 12 11 0 52.2% 7 16
2003 Carlton 22 4 18 0 18.2% 15 16
2004 Carlton 22 10 12 0 45.5% 11 16
2005 Carlton 22 4 17 1 20.5% 16 16
2006 Carlton 22 3 18 1 15.9% 16 16
2007 Carlton 16 4 12 0 25.0% 15 16
Career totals 344 175 167 2 51.16% 8.07 15.87

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Bonnet jnr. a senior". The Age (Melbourne, VIC). 18 April 1978. p. 28. 
  2. ^ Marc Fiddian (5 September 1980). "Semi-finalists make changes". The Age (Melbourne, VIC). p. 23. 
  3. ^ Ray Jordon (29 September 1991). "Pagan's record deserves tribute". The Sunday Herald-Sun (Melbourne, VIC). p. 34. 
  4. ^ a b Robert Fedele (24 September 2013). "Profile: Denis Pagan has no plans for the paddock". The Weekly Review (Moonee Valley). Retrieved 1 June 2014. 
  5. ^ Carlton sacks coach Denis Pagan - Official AFL Website of the Carlton Football Club
  6. ^ Denis Pagan's message to Paul Roos: Stay positive, Sydney Morning Herald, 4 April 2014
  7. ^ Denis Pagan's player profile at AFL Tables
  8. ^ Denis Pagan's coaching profile at AFL Tables
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Wayne Schimmelbusch
North Melbourne Football Club coach
1993–2002
Succeeded by
Dean Laidley
Preceded by
Wayne Brittain
Carlton Football Club coach
2003–2007
Succeeded by
Brett Ratten