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Hawthorn's Evans gets football operations job

Adam McNicol  March 13, 2013 11:22 AM

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Mark Evans has been named as AFL football operations manager

HAWTHORN'S general manager of football operations Mark Evans has been appointed to head up the AFL's football department.

Evans, 47, replaces Adrian Anderson, who resigned last November and finished his role with the League in December.

He takes on a restructured position that no longer oversees the integrity unit, which has become a stand-alone department within the AFL.

But Evans is still responsible for a vast number of the AFL's activities.

They include:

- Staging of all NAB Cup, premiership season and finals matches
-  AFL rules and regulations
- NAB AFL Draft
- Match Review Panel, AFL Tribunal
- Umpiring

A former player with Box Hill in the VFA, Evans was a schoolteacher for 11 years in Melbourne's eastern suburbs.

He entered the world of AFL footy when he was hired to be Melbourne's communications manager in June 1999.

"The former communications manager, Gerard Murphy, had taught with my wife and he let me know the job was going," Evans explained to AFL.com.au.

Since then, he has steadily worked his way up the chain.

He spent three years in the communications role at the Demons before being promoted to the club's football department as a player development manager.

In November 2004, shortly after the appointment of Alastair Clarkson as senior coach, Evans joined Hawthorn as its general manager of football operations.

Eighteen months ago he rose further when he was appointed the club's deputy chief executive officer.

Last year he added to his resume by completing a course in strategy, strategic leadership, negotiation and innovation at the Harvard Business School in the United States.

His rise to the AFL executive is likely to be hailed by the clubs, as they have long decried the lack of club experience among the League's senior management.

"I've always believed it would be a huge advantage if we had someone with club experience, particularly as the restructure involved the role being focused purely more on football," AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou admitted on Wednesday.

Among Evans' early challenges will be determining whether the substitute rule should be changed so that subs can be used while players who have suffered head knocks are being assessed.

He will also play a key role in deciding whether an interchange cap should be introduced next year.

That process will be particularly challenging, as most of the clubs, especially Hawthorn, are ardently opposed to the idea of a cap.

"I'm not sure I should pre-empt the work that's been done to analyse that now," Evans said.

"But I think we know there's a cap coming, and I actually liked Scott Watters' viewpoint on the radio at the end of last week.

"His viewpoint was, 'Whether the cap is 80, 100, 120 – the sky won't fall in.'

"But coaches and administrators just need to get their head around how they best manage it."

Hawthorn said in a statement on its website that it had accepted Evans' resignation with regret.

"Whilst we're disappointed to lose him, we're extremely proud Mark has secured this outstanding career opportunity with the AFL," CEO Stuart Fox said.

"Our club philosophy is to grow and develop talented people, and no doubt the AFL has made a fantastic appointment in Mark."

It is still unclear when Evans will start with the AFL.

He is required to give four weeks' notice to Hawthorn, but the Hawks and Evans are likely to allow him to leave the club earlier than that.