Leadership Speaker & Former AFL coach, player
Alastair Clarkson is a leadership speaker and former AFL coach and player. He is renowned for his innovation, leadership philosophies and ability to lead change in the way AFL football is played. He was and remains the trailblazer for AFL coaches to travel internationally to gain knowledge from the highest level of global sports, to adapt into AFL football.
Alastair is universally regarded as the best coaches in modern day Australian football (AFL) and one of the greatest of all time. His enviable record includes:
• Four Premierships (2008, 2013, 2014 and 2015) and one runner up (2012)
• Guiding Hawthorn Football Club to 26 finals appearances (16 wins)
• Hawthorn’s most successful coach of all time
• A record 390 games as Hawthorn coach
• Two-time All-Australian team coach
Alastair assumed the senior coaching role at Hawthorn in 2005 and set about building a dynasty. After taking the difficult path of culling several experienced players and blooding young talent, success came early with a Premiership win in 2008. Hawthorn was the pacesetter of the decade including a third consecutive premiership in 2015.
In July 2017, Alastair coached his 300th game of AFL football, passing the legendary John Kennedy Sr. Hawthorn’s 2015 premiership win also elevated Alastair to become Hawthorn’s most successful premiership winning coach, winning his fourth premiership with the club.
In 2014 and 2015 the AFL selected Alastair as coach of the Australian team against Ireland. It was a huge honour for Alastair and one of the highlights of his career – he was genuinely excited to be leading the very best players in Australia.
His own playing career could best be described as ‘understated’ in comparison to his coaching career. Recruited from Kaniva in country Victoria by the North Melbourne Football Club in 1987, Clarkson made his VFL (the predecessor to the AFL) debut that year, kicking the winning goal after the siren in the first of his 91 games for the Kangaroos. He left the ‘Roos in 1996 and played a further 41 games with Melbourne Football Club.
Alastair is a passionate, family-focused person with a real interest in the community. A qualified teacher, Alastair also has university degrees in sports science and business and an MBA from Monash University. For many years he has embarked on off-season study at Harvard and Stanford Universities. His thirst for knowledge and understanding of best practices in sport and business is unparalleled.
His educational background, combined with a coaching and playing career across four decades, allow Alastair to articulate an array of learnings that transcend into everyday life. He is recognised as a statesman of the game and a person with great influence across sport through his incredible networks, which span from key executives at the AFL (and in particular its CEO) through to a vast array of international contacts at the very highest levels of world sport.
Alastair is passionate about his ambassadorial roles for AFL Community Coaches and the AFL Coaches Association’s ‘Tackle Your Feelings’ program. He is also a key consultant for the Tasmanian AFL Taskforce in its quest to be awarded a licence to compete in the AFL men’s and women’s competitions.
Having completed his 17th season as Hawthorn coach in 2021, Clarkson is standing out of coaching for 2022 with a view to adding further to his incredible knowledge bank, by studying leading practices across the world’s best teams, leagues and commercial organisations.