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New Coach For Coburg



Spargo enters the Tigers den
Tony Greenberg
3:42:47 PM Thu 14 November, 2002

Former North Melbourne and Brisbane midfielder, Paul Spargo, has been appointed assistant coach at Richmond and coach of the Club's VFL alignment, the Coburg Tigers.

Spargo, 36, has carved an impressive reputation as a country league coach since retiring from AFL football in 1993 after playing 83 games with the Kangaroos and eight games with the then Bears.

He guided Ovens and Murray league club Albury to third place in his first year at the helm in 1994 and then led it to consecutive premierships in 1995-96.

This year he took on the coaching job at Albury again after the club had slipped to second last in 2001. He had an instant impact, lifting Albury to the minor premiership after the home-and-away series, before it bowed out in the preliminary final.

Richmond's Football Manager Greg Hutchison said the Tigers were most impressed with the way Spargo presented himself throughout the interview process.

"Paul was well organised . . . he had prepared really well and we're genuinely excited about how he's going to go," Hutchison said.

"He was someone that offered a point of difference from the other candidates we interviewed. He was fresh, he was new to the scene, but he's got a terrific record as a coach.

"Paul's coached a couple of premiership sides and the teams that he's been involved with have had a terrific amount of success. So, we thought it was really exciting to get someone from outside the system, to give some freshness to the group."

Hutchison said that because this was a new full-time role, it was unclear at this stage how Spargo would divide his time between Richmond and Coburg.

"We hope it'll be a 50/50 split between Coburg and Richmond," Hutchison said.

"Obviously, the Coburg job is a huge job in itself and it may end up being 60/40. We're just not quite sure yet how it will work out.

"Paul's role is not only to coach the Coburg Tigers, but to be an assistant coach here and be responsible for the defensive line.

"Given that it's a new full-time position, we will probably learn along the way about the workload and what the requirements are. Paul's well aware of the fact it is a big workload, but he's prepared to really throw himself into it and, as I said, we're really excited by his appointment."

Coburg's Football Manager Michael Roberts was equally upbeat about what Spargo had to offer.

"Paul's record as a country coach speaks for itself," Roberts said.

"He is very highly regarded, not only for the meticulous preparation he puts into his coaching and his fine communicative skills, but also for his ability to work in closely with all sections of a club.

"Dedication to the cause is a big part of his football philosophy and we at Coburg are really looking forward to working with him, to build on the good foundations laid at the club over the last couple of years by Alan Richardson.

"Paul certainly has an appreciation of the proud history of the Coburg Football Club, and he is hungry to bring us more success."

Spargo was delighted to be given the opportunity at Richmond and Coburg.

"It's just fantastic. A week and a half ago, it wouldn't have been in my wildest dreams to even have been thought of," he said.

"I was just contacted by the Club, and they sounded me out. Then, I had a couple of days to think about it and we went ahead, through the process."

Spargo said although being involved in an AFL coaching capacity was something he'd aspired to, he hadn't previously gone through the 'right channels'.

"For Richmond to look outside that kind of square and give me an opportunity is terrific.

"I think they're probably looking for someone who's got a lot of practical experience. I've coached on and off since '94 in Albury and the Ovens and Murray League and they've been pretty successful times.

"This, however, is a new challenge and it's definitely really exciting. As I said to Greg Miller, who I've had a bit to do with over the years, there's some really good people that I know I can confide in and they'll give me a lot of advice -- the likes of obviously Danny and 'Hutchy', and Wayne Brittain as well. It's a really good crew and I'm sure I'll learn a lot from them."