LYING in bed, fighting for his life in a Peruvian hospital, Phil Walsh questioned whether he'd ever return home.
It was October 2012 and he'd been hit by a bus while trying to cross a road in Cusco, which lies on the doorstep of the popular Inca Trail.
Walsh feared for his life.
Along with the death of close friend Dean Bailey earlier this year – Walsh spoke at his funeral – and dealing with a serious illness within his own family, his experience in South America has shaped his life.
Walsh described himself as a career coach, but said he had never sought out the senior position – until now.
The newly appointed Adelaide coach has realised life is short and when the Crows came knocking he decided to follow his own advice and chase his dream.
"It (near-death experience in Peru) has been a big moment for me…I don't drink alcohol anymore, try not to drive a car, try and spend as much time with the people who are important, I try not to judge people as much as I did," Walsh said.
"[Over] my life journey I've had a few moments, particularly over these last 12 months.
"I just got a text message from Caron Bailey and it made me quite emotional. She said Dean would have had a little bit of a giggle about this and it really did resonate with me.
"I tell my kids to chase their dreams, so I probably don't want to look back at 70 years old and think what might have been."
The 54-year-old felt he deserved a chance to coach a side in his own right, having spent 20 years in the league under various senior coaches.
He began his journey as Geelong's strength and conditioning coach in 1995, working with Gary Ayres, before joining Port Adelaide, where he remained under Mark Williams until he joined John Worsfold's West Coast in 2009.
Walsh was then lured back to Alberton last year.
"There's nothing off the table," according to Walsh's new boss, "[and] there's nothing locked in".
"If there's someone to come with Phil, who he wants to complement his skills, then that opportunity exists," Fagan said.
Walsh said that as well as speaking to every player on the club's list within 48 hours, he wanted face time with the football department to determine who he could work with and who had to go.
"Other than talking to all the players, the other thing I want to do in the next 48 hours is sit down with the other people in the footy department and see what their vision is," he said.
"Just see whether we can get aligned and we'll make some decisions after that.
"I've worked with a lot of people over the journey so I know a lot of people who would complement me. Whether it's doable or not, time will tell. "
He refused to promise a quick rebound up the ladder in 2015, but said only team-first players would be selected while he was coach.
Walsh believed that if he had enough players putting the team above all else, success would come.
And as for the style of play he would nurture? The football world will find out when they see it themselves.
"You know when they'll see it? When they can recognise it – not when I tell them to recognise it," he said.