|Full name||Denis Pagan|
|Date of birth||24 September 1947|
|Original team(s)||Carlton U19|
|Height/Weight||183cm / 85kg|
|Representative team honours|
1 Playing statistics correct to end of 1976 season.
3 Coaching statistics correct as of 2007.
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.
Early coaching career
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. 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. 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.
North Melbourne Football Club
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.
Later claiming he would have rather stayed at North Melbourne but his contract was up for review North Melbourne made him an offer he had to refuse. Defending his departure was about money on the Open Mike (TV series) with Mike Sheanan, he stated his paycheque at Carlton in his first year was substaintially less than his previous year at North Melbourne and silly offers from North like $1 for every person who comes through the gate.
Carlton Football Club
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. 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 breachesand then when asked by Mike Sheahan in 2012 on Open Mike (TV series)"The move to carlton that turned out to be a disaster didn't it? He replied "Thats the biggest understatement of all time, yea it certainly did".
Post coaching career
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./>
|Totals||Averages (per game)|
|†||Denotes seasons in which Pagan won an AFL Premiership|
|Season||Team||Games Coached||Wins||Losses||Draws||Points %||Ladder Position||League Teams|
- "Bonnet jnr. a senior". The Age (Melbourne, VIC). 18 April 1978. p. 28.
- Marc Fiddian (5 September 1980). "Semi-finalists make changes". The Age (Melbourne, VIC). p. 23.
- Ray Jordon (29 September 1991). "Pagan's record deserves tribute". The Sunday Herald-Sun (Melbourne, VIC). p. 34.
- Robert Fedele (24 September 2013). "Profile: Denis Pagan has no plans for the paddock". The Weekly Review (Moonee Valley). Retrieved 1 June 2014.
- Carlton sacks coach Denis Pagan - Official AFL Website of the Carlton Football Club
- Denis Pagan's message to Paul Roos: Stay positive, Sydney Morning Herald, 4 April 2014
- Denis Pagan's player profile at AFL Tables
- Denis Pagan's coaching profile at AFL Tables