Best of Series: Damien Hardwick

Our Great Coach on this episode is Damien Hardwick.

Damien is an Australian rules football coach and former player.

As a player, he played 207 games for Essendon and Port Adelaide, winning premierships with each club in 2000 and 2004 respectively.

He was appointed to his first head coach role in 2010 with Richmond; and led them to premierships in 2017, 2019 and 2020. He is now the longest tenured coach in the clubs 136 year history.

In 2017 he voted Coach of the Year by his peers. And is also a member of a small and elite group of people who have both played in and coached an AFL premiership.

Damien’s journey as a coach has been documented in books and in documentary’s, and in this interview he takes us through the key inflection points that led to him changing his philosophy, and then ultimately leading his team to 3 premierships.

It’s a terrific story, there are so many highlights and here are just a few that stayed with afterwards:

His descriptions of the effort that went into building the championship environment that eventually led to 3 premierships.

How it was a leadership course on Authenticity at Harvard that led him to change his style, and ultimately unlock improved performance in the team.

And the use of the triple H framework: hero, hardship and highlight to encourage his team to become more open and vulnerable with each other; and how this deeper level of connection translated into improved performance.

And just before we go to the interview, If you’re a first time listener, you can check out our library of interviews with other great coaches at our website; the

If you would like to send us any feedback or if you know a great coach, who has a unique story to share, then we would love to hear from you, please contact us at or contact us through our website