AFL chief to be new Suns boss
AFL: The Gold Coast Suns have pulled off an abrupt coup, wooing AFL head of football Mark Evans to be the club's chief executive in a move the AFL has been involved in.
Evans has, very recently - Fox Sports believes within the last few days - been effectively seconded to run the Suns, who have been a troubled franchise for the competition in recent seasons.
He officially stepped down from the AFL yesterday and will officially begin his new role at the Suns on Monday March 6.
Evans said it was a "compelling offer" made by the Suns that was "impossible to resist", adding that he was excited by the challenges and opportunities on the Gold Coast and in Queensland".
"This is a young team and a young business with a great stadium, and fantastic new training and administration base, and incredible growth potential," Evans said.
"I know the challenges the Gold Coast Suns face, but the opportunities and the importance of this club to the national competition can't be overstated.
"The health of the whole competition depends on growing the footprint of our game in Queensland - and the Gold Coast Suns are absolutely the front line."
Suns chairman Tony Cochrane has been instrumental in the recruitment of Evans, who will leave his post at the AFL and fill the position made vacant by outgoing Gold Coast CEO Andrew Travis.
"Mark is universally respected across the AFL industry and his strong record in football administration and management speaks for itself," Cochrane said.
"He will bring valuable senior executive experience from his time at the AFL and clubs to our young Gold Coast Suns and it is a great boost of confidence in the future of our club and its place in our community."
Evans was also a candidate for the Hawthorn chief executive role, to the point where he was the favourite for the job if he wanted it.
The prevailing industry view is that Evans could make a better and bigger difference at the Suns, who've had cultural and football issues in the past.
As for Evans' replacement at the AFL, Simon Lethlean would be an internal candidate, but the league will have to decide whether to fill the role with Lethlean or a candidate from club land, which was the same pathway Evans had.
Evans thanked the AFL for giving him the opportunity, but said it was a "great time to move on" from the league.
"Many people would say I have had the best job in football and it has been an absolute privilege to have run the football operations on behalf of the game that I love so much," he said.
"I will certainly miss the team that I led, the projects I worked on, the people I dealt with at clubs, and the passion of the role."