In a much anticipated move, the Melbourne board has decided to extend Dean Bailey’s contract until the end of the 2011 season. While this give Bailey a real opportunity to develop his list and implement his game style it lacks a degree of accountability for a terrible record.
Bailey is possibly the most unsuccessful Melbourne coach ever. He has collected two consecutive wooden spoons, a feat that his predecessors could never manage. With a win-loss record of 44-7 he is the least successful coach in the league at the moment. Obviously the Melbourne board either see some brilliance in Bailey that hasn’t translated in to on-field success or they are rewarding losses.
Melbourne have been fairly terrible over the last two years and ‘experimentation’ has been rife. A ramification of extending his contract is that it makes the claims of tanking more valid.
Bailey has been rewarded somewhat prematurely by the board. They didn’t have to resign him until the end of the year. Most teams would have waited until the mid-season review to decide the fate of a coach that comes out of contract that year. The board and football department obviously don’t want a contract cloud hanging over his head.
In effect the Dees have written a blank cheque for this season to Bailey. They are saying that he doesn’t need to worry too much about this year. He can continue working on game style and plans during games and will not be held accountable if Melbourne play well in 2011. I expect that a finals birth in 2011 will secure Bailey’s contract for another year but with Gary Lion set to finish at Channel 9 and finish coaching school with the AIS then it looks unlikely.
Lyon would be one of the luckiest first year coaches in history if he walks in to the job in 2012 or 2013 because Melbourne will have all their low draft picks at a good age and experience level to make a tilt for the flag. To steal that opportunity off Bailey would be nigh on criminal.
Another possible reason for Bailey’s extension is that the Demons don’t have that much money. Bailey has to be one of the lowest paid coaches in the league. He wouldn’t be earning the mega-bucks like the celebrity coaches of other teams.