Adam Simpson after the round 15 match between Essendon and West Coast at Marvel Stadium, June 23, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

ADAM Simpson says he still loves the football industry and has left the door open to an eventual return to the game, but an immediate break was needed after announcing a mutual decision to part ways with West Coast after 11 seasons.

Simpson and West Coast met on Monday night after a sixth straight defeat to discuss whether the coach was part of the Eagles' long-term plans, agreeing quickly that the time was now right to move on for the benefit of the club.

There was relief and sadness but not a lot of shock at Tuesday's announcement, with Simpson expecting the news would be met in different ways by the club's players after a third consecutive season at the foot of the ladder.

After a period of high scrutiny and pressure for the 48-year-old, who has shown resilience through three of the most challenging years in the club's history, a break from the spotlight will likely be welcomed.

"I don't know what's going to happen. I've still got passion for the game but probably need a break to be honest," Simpson said during an open media conference that included self-deprecating jokes and reflections on his time in coaching.


"There's a sense of a little bit of relief as well as sadness … and optimism for our playing group.

"It felt like the time was right, and the relief bit is a bit around the family as much as me.

"I need a break. I don't know what I'm going to do. We love Perth but I love footy, so just see how we go."

As one of only three premiership coaches in West Coast's history, Simpson would be farewelled by fans in grand style if he decided to take up an offer to coach in Sunday's clash against Brisbane at Optus Stadium.

Getting through Tuesday, however, was the former North Melbourne midfielder's first priority while the club worked quickly to appoint Jarrad Schofield as a caretaker beyond that for the rest of the season.


Simpson moved to Perth at the end of 2013 as a 38-year-old to take over from club great John Worsfold, making mistakes through his 11 seasons but growing as a person throughout.

While the top job looked to take a toll on him quickly, Simpson said all was not as it seemed early in his tenure.

"My hair's got pretty grey since I got here, but I did dye it. I was living a lie I must admit," he said. 

"When I got this job I thought, 'I can't live this lie', so then I stopped and overnight I went grey. So it wasn't the stress of the job. My 17-year-old son has already got greys.

"Between 38 and 48, life completely changes with your family. Our kids were all really young and now three of them have left school, so they've grown up here.

"I've just been involved in footy since 1993 at AFL level, so it's just been my life and the ups and downs of winning and losing, but also the pre-season, off-season, in-season, finals. All that has been part of my life.

Adam Simpson addresses the media during a West Coast Eagles press conference at Mineral Resources Park, July 9, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

"I'm looking forward to growing in other areas outside football."

Among those Simpson paid tribute to on Tuesday were the chairmen and chief executive's he has coached under, including long-serving club boss Trevor Nisbett, and the football managers who have been by his side.

He reserved a mention for previous head of strength and conditioning Warren Kofoed, who played a crucial role in the 2018 premiership, as well as his assistant coaches and players.

Watching players grow from teenagers into men, including a 2018 premiership team that flourished under him, was the most rewarding part of the role.

Adam Simpson, Don Pyke and Paul Fitzpatrick before a West Coast press conference at Mineral Resources Park, July 9, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

"It just felt like everyone had my back on the first day when I really didn't know what I was doing as a 38-year-old and I just felt so much support," he said.

"It was a fantastic journey and one of which I'm very proud of.

"[I'll] recharge and see what happens in the next phase of my life."