James Hird was one of 4 candidates to interview for coaching job, as debate rages over whether a potential return would take the club forward

James Hird : Essendon | Coach | Interview | Daughter

Albert Hird (born 4 February 1973) is a former professional Australian rules football player and the senior coach of the Essendon Football Club in the Australian Football League (AFL).

James Hird : Essendon | Coach | Interview | Daughter

Personal information
Full name James Albert Hird
Nickname(s) Hirdy
Date of birth 4 February 1973 (age 49)
Place of birth Canberra, Australia
  Original team(s)    Ainslie (ACTAFL)
Draft No. 79, 1990 National Draft
Height 188 cm (6 ft 2 in)
Weight 89 kg (196 lb)
Position(s) Midfielder / half-forward

Hird played as a midfielder and half-forward, but he was often given free rein by then-Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy to play wherever he thought necessary.

Hird was a highly decorated footballer, with accolades including the 1996 Brownlow Medal and membership of the Australian Football Hall of Fame.

In 2008, he was listed by journalist Mike Sheahan as the 20th greatest player of all time in the AFL-commissioned book The Australian Game of Football.

Hird was appointed as the coach of the Essendon Football Club in September 2010.

In August 2013, he was suspended from coaching for 12 months when he was charged by the AFL with conduct prejudicing the game in relation to his role in the Essendon Football Club supplements controversy.

He returned to the club following the 2014 season but resigned in August 2015.

James Hird Essendon 

On 28 September 2010, the rumours were confirmed when Essendon’s chief executive officer, Ian Robson, and chairman, David Evans, announced at an official press conference that Hird would be the next senior coach of the Essendon Football Club on a four-year contract.

Hird’s coaching career began with the Bombers winning against triple preliminary finalists the Western Bulldogs in the first round.

James Hird : Essendon | Coach | Interview | Daughter

Wins against St Kilda, the Gold Coast (by a record margin of 139 points), West Coast and Brisbane Lions in the first eight rounds saw the Bombers in the top four by round eight, but a draw against Carlton, losses to Sydney and Collingwood and a five-game losing streak halfway through the season saw Essendon drop to tenth on the ladder after Round 14.

Hird’s team then won by four points against the previously undefeated Geelong in Round 15, whom assistant coach Mark Thompson was coaching against for the first time since his exit from the club.

Prior to that match, Essendon had one of the worst records among current AFL clubs against Geelong in recent times, having only beaten the club once since 2003.

Hird coached Essendon to the 2011 finals, where they lost against rivals Carlton in an elimination final at the MCG.


Immediately after Hird retired from playing football, there was much speculation as to whether he would be interested in a coaching role at a club in the AFL, but primarily at Essendon.

After initially dodging questions about his future, Hird stated in August 2010 that “There’s something in me, deep in my heart, that says at some point I want to coach Essendon”.

James Hird : Essendon | Coach | Interview | Daughter

Playing career
Years Club Games (Goals)
1992–2007 Essendon 253 (343)
Representative team honours
Years Team Games (Goals)
1993 NSW/ACT 1 (?)
International team honours
2000–2004 Australia 4 (3)
Coaching career
Years Club Games (W–L–D)
2011–2013, 2015 Essendon 85 (41–43–1)

These words came as a surprise to many, including former premiership teammate Matthew Lloyd, who said that Hird had “changed his whole persona in regards to how he’s answering his questions… Just in regards to saying, ‘I’ll coach one day.

I want to coach Essendon one day’. Even those type of words, I haven’t heard before.” These comments by Hird, considered to be Essendon’s “favourite son”, furthered speculation towards the future of then-Essendon coach Matthew Knights.

A rumour emerged following these comments suggesting that Hird was part of an unofficial agreement with the Essendon board to replace Matthew Knights for the 2011 AFL Season.

However, two days after Hird’s initial comments, he announced that he had changed his mind due to the intense division and speculation over Matthew Knights’ future following Hird’s initial comments. Hird stated that he was ruling himself out of coaching Essendon for at least three years.

James Hird Interview 

Essendon great James Hird has been interviewed to become the club’s next coach.

The Herald Sun’s Mark Robinson first reported the former champion player, and coach during the supplements saga, spoke with the Bombers’ coaching selection committee on Wednesday.

James Hird : Essendon | Coach | Interview | Daughter

It sees Hird added to a list of contenders that includes Melbourne assistant Adem Yze, former North Melbourne coach Brad Scott and ex-Adelaide coach turned Sydney assistant Don Pyke.

The interview comes seven years after he quit the job following a dismal 2015 season, having returned to the job after serving a ban in 2014.

Hird became coach in late 2010 and was in the role when the supplements saga emerged.

In August 2013, he along with the club, senior assistant Mark Thompson, football manager Danny Corcoran and club doctor Bruce Reid were charged by the AFL with bringing the game into disrepute.


The Hird legacy is carrying on at Essendon after Stephanie Hird, the daughter of club great James, commenced training with the club’s women’s side.

The 18-year-old hit the field alongside the daughter of another club legend, Michaela Long, with more than 50 female footballers at the inaugural session.

James Hird : Essendon | Coach | Interview | Daughter

Once a talented junior tennis player, Hird has opted to follow in her father’s footsteps in aussie rules.

The half-back/wing has already played three games for Old Geelong in the VAFA women’s development competition.

With father-son combinations like Daniher and Watson emerging in recent times, the club was excited to announce their first father-daughter duos.

“The father-son structure in the men’s football is really exciting and it’s a way of keeping those big names that have added a lot to clubs within the club,” Essendon VFLW coach Brendan Major said.

“So to be able to have those two in the women’s program is huge for the Essendon Football Club.”

By Rishabh

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