Former Melbourne coach and Adelaide senior assistant coach Dean Bailey, 47, died Tuesday morning after a short battle with cancer.
Bailey was diagnosed with lung cancer in December. Players, coaches and staff gathered at the Crows’ training base at West Lakes to be told of the sad news at 9.30am.
Bailey took leave from his job as Adelaide’s strategy and innovation coach to fight the illness, but was still a frequent and popular visitor to the club.
Bailey coached Melbourne between 2008 and 2011, winning 22 of 83 games as he undertook a long-term rebuild of the struggling club’s playing list.
He played 53 games for Essendon between 1986 and 1992, then took on a development role with the Bombers before joining Port Adelaide’s staff as an assistant to Mark Williams in their premiership year, 2004.
Respected for his calm demeanour, passion for football and dry sense of humour, Bailey was sacked after a catastrophic 186-loss by Melbourne at Geelong in round 19, 2011. However, the young Demons finished Bailey’s final two seasons with eight wins and a draw, still their best results since 2006.