Phil Walsh death: How coach had survived being hit by bus

THE Adelaide Crows and wider football community in Australia is in shock after news Crows coach Phil Walsh was killed overnight in what police say was a domestic dispute involving his 26-year-old son at his home in Somerton Park.

Walsh was in his first year as head coach at the club, but was a lifetime football person.

From Hamilton in country Victoria, the 55-year-old played 122 games for Collingwood, Richmond and the Brisbane Bears.

He was a hard-working talented wingman who made the most of his ability, winning Brisbane's inaugural best-and-fairest award in 1987.

Obsessed with teaching and learning, he sought to move into the coaching arena and was appointed as the fitness co-ordinator and senior team runner at Geelong in 1996.

He then became an assistant coach to head coach Mark Williams at Port Adelaide and in 2004 was named the AFL assistant coach of the year for his role in the team's premiership victory over the Brisbane Lions.

In 2009 Walsh moved on to the West Coast Eagles as an assistant coach under John Worsfold, before returning to South Australia in 2014, again as an assistant at Port where he specialised in midfield strategy.

In October last year he was appointed senior coach at the Adelaide Football Club for three years after the sacking on Brenton Sanderson.

While the move was regarded as somewhat of a surprise to those who weren't familiar with Walsh's career, his astute football brain, obsessively hard-working character and team-first approach made his a standout candidate according to Crows officials at the time.

"As a career coach, I am ready for the ultimate test and 100 percent committed to this fresh challenge," Walsh said after being appointed.

"Success doesn't come looking for you. You must chase it as a team, with a focus on hard work and elite habits."

Walsh was actually lucky to get the opportunity to fulfil his dream to become coach of an AFL club.

A lover of travel, two years earlier he was almost killed when he was hit by a bus in a busy street in the Peruvian city of Cosco.

He did survive, and had a photo of the street as the screen saver on his computer to make sure he realised each day how lucky he was to be alive, and not to get too angry when others didn't reach the high standards he aspired to.

Walsh's death has been met with disbelief, not only in the AFL, but across Australia's wider sporting community.

Queensland's State of Origin captain Cameron Smith spoke this morning of how well respected Walsh was, and how well aware the Melbourne Storm was of his coaching strategies and philosophies.

Not only has Walsh's family been torn apart by the tragedy, the Crows players and wider AFL community has been left reeling by the news.

It now remains to be seen what the response is from the Crows and the AFL to the remaining games in this weekend's round.


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