Marc Bullen has ended weeks of speculation about his coaching future, re-signing with Western Region Football League division 1 powerhouse Deer Park for the 2020 season.
Bullen agreed to terms with the Lions on Thursday to remain senior coach of a club that will be going for a record-extending eighth consecutive premiership next year.
While admitting he has been in discussions with other clubs about vacant coaching positions, Bullen felt the time was not right to leave Deer Park.
“I think it’s loyalty to people that have been good to me and my family,” Bullen told starweekly.com.au.
“My bond with the playing group is the key driver behind my decision to stay.
“The players have all indicated they want to go again.
“If the leader doesn’t want to go again, that’s a break of that bond.
“I did have in-depth discussions with a couple of other clubs, but it just felt right to be going again at Deer Park.”
Bullen indicated in post-match interviews after Deer Park’s stunning grand final win over Altona last month that he would be weighing up his coaching future.
The 37-year-old considered a fresh start and taking a new direction with his coaching, but came to decision to remain with the Lions for one more season at least.
Bullen wants to ensure the Lions are able to sustain their success long after he leaves and has floated a potential succession plan for his position.
“While it’s there in front of me, I’m going to take it with both hands,” he said.
“It’s a great job, it’s well resourced and the club is set up very very good off the field.
“We’ll look at probably having a succession plan in place over the next 12 months.”
Family was another reason Bullen could not turn his back on Deer Park.
Bullen has formed so many friendships in his time with the Lions that he will find it hard to leave.
He also did not want to disappoint his young son.
“My young fella loves Deer Park,” Bullen said.
“He wears Deer Park colours all the time and he jumps up and down and calls Chris Stewart’s name out.
“For me to get him to change clubs is probably not the right time as well.”