FREMANTLE has sacked Ross Lyon just days out from their final game of the 2019 season.
The 52-year-old still had a year to run on his contract.
The club has also parted company with CEO Steve Rosich.
Lyon fronted the media at a junior football oval in Bicton, joking he chose the location to prevent the media from “camping outside my house for the next week”.
He thanked the Dockers for the ride, which was “worth the fall”.
“In 2012, 13, 14, 15 – the group went to places I wasn’t sure they could go,” Lyon said.
“They were led by Pavlich, McPharlin, Mundy, great players – there was some big finals.
“That was a great period.”
Lyon said he intended to dust himself off and had signed up for a university course.
“I’ve already enrolled at Harvard last week, behavioural economics – the psychology of decision making.
“I want to keep stretching myself and growing.”
Lyon said the news had taken a toll on his young children.
“I’ve got three young kids that are connected obviously, in this state,” he said.
“They’re 13 and below so they’re a little bit rattled at the minute so I’ll wrap some support around them.”
Assistant coach David Hale will take charge of the Dockers for their clash with Port Adelaide on Sunday at Adelaide Oval.
Fremantle president Dale Alcock said the decision to sack Lyon was made over the weekend, and the club had not settled on a replacement for him.
Alcock said a panel made up of himself, footy GM Peter Bell and board members Peter Mann and Sue Murphy – along with an external party – would decide the club’s next coach.
“We were not in a position to extend Ross’s contract post 2020,” Alcock told reporters at Freo’s Cockburn base on Tuesday afternoon.
“We were concerned that if we did not make this decision today, we would be treading water for the next 12 months.”
Alcock said appointing a new coach was priority one.
“We’ll be casting the net as wide as possible over the coming months to find the right people, the best people, the most talnted and dedcated people to join our club and set the course for the next 10 years,” he said.
Alcock said the club’s inability to make finals for the past four seasons “isn’t acceptable”.
Rosich said he had been working closely with Fremantle’s board over the past few months to firm up the club’s future direction.
“Given that we cannot agree on some of the key directions for the club, we have reached a mutual agreement for me to step down,” he said.
— Mitchell Woodcock (@Mitch_Woodcock) August 20, 2019
Lyon is the most successful coach in Dockers history, leading the club to their first Grand Final in 2013.
After that heartbreaking loss to Hawthorn, the Dockers were thought to be on the cusp of a maiden flag.
But after preliminary final defeats in 2014 and 2015, the bottom fell out the following season.
The Dockers lost their first 10 games in 2016 and the club has been mired in semi-crisis ever since.
Despite big-name acquisitions from interstate, the Dockers haven’t made the finals in four years – winning just 29 of 87 games in that time.
Lyon earlier this season labelled himself unsackable.
“I can guarantee you I’ll be around,” Lyon replied earlier this year when asked if he thought he would be Fremantle’s coach next year.
“My performance dictates we’ll be around. We’re a rebuilding team. We’re 7-8.”