Mitchell was a leading contender for the Magpies job, but said that he chose to take the Hawthorn role over the Pies gig as he was “desperate” to coach the side with whom he played in four AFL flags under Clarkson.
The former gun midfielder, currently coaching Hawthorn’s affiliate club Box Hill, said he had been disappointed by the inference that he had undermined Clarkson.
“I kind of get a bit pissed off with people saying that [I took his job],” Mitchell said.
“The fact that people would say I am trying to push him out is disrespectful to both of us.
“They told Clarko that he wouldn’t be reappointed for next year. That was one thing that happened. The next thing that happened is that they approached me to say Clarko’s not going to be reappointed at the end of next year, would you like to take this job? And it was at that time that I pulled out of the Collingwood job.
“As soon as I knew the club was not going to reappoint Clarko, my options became to continue on and attempt to go for the Collingwood job or if not do that, I knew someone else was going to coach Hawthorn in 2023.
“That was a separate thing to me taking over.”
Mitchell said that inevitably he and Clarkson would disagree on things, but said that was healthy, adding that a meeting between club powerbrokers, he and Clarkson last week had been productive but not answered all questions.
“I’m a little bit bemused by the whole situation,” Mitchell said.
“You are going to have all these discussions all the time.
“You have to have people with differing views.
“At the end of that meeting, we did not have every answer … We don’t have the answers right now about how that works.
“Everything is a little bit grey.”
WAITING IN THE WINGS
Recent coaching succession plans
• Ladder position year before handover: 3rd
•2001: Wayne Brittain succeeds David Parkin in an informal handover. Brittain coaches his first AFL game aged 42 years, 291 days.
•Brittain at Carlton: 46 games – 18 wins, 28 losses. Winning percentage: 39.13%; 2 finals.
•Parkin at Carlton*: 235 games – 140 wins, 1 draw, 94 losses. Winning percentage: 59.57%; 1 premiership, 2 grand finals.
* Second stint at Carlton
• Ladder position year before handover: 2nd.
• 2012: Nathan Buckley succeeds Mick Malthouse. Buckley coaches first AFL game aged 39 years, 248 days: after being assistant coach in 2010-11 where the Magpies reach successive grand finals and win the 2010 premiership.
• Buckley at Collingwood: 218 games – 117 wins, 2 draws, 99 losses. Winning percentage: 54.13%; 1 grand final.
• Malthouse at Collingwood: 286 games – 163 wins, 2 draws, 121 losses. Winning percentage: 57.34%; 1 premiership, 5 grand finals*.
* Includes 2010 replay
• Ladder position year before handover: 5th.
• 2012: John Longmire succeeds Paul Roos, coaches first AFL game aged 40 years, 86 days.
• Longmire at Sydney: 250 games – 153 games, 2 draws, 95 losses. Winning percentage: 61.60%; 1 premiership, 3 grand finals.
• Roos at Sydney: 202 games – 116 wins, 2 draws, 84 losses. Winning percentage: 57.92%; 1 premiership, 2 grand finals.
• Ladder position year before handover – 11th.
• 2017: Simon Goodwin succeeds Paul Roos, coaching first AFL game aged 40 years, 89 days.
• Goodwin at Melbourne: 102 games – 54 wins, 48 losses. Winning percentage: 52.94%; 3 finals.
• Roos at Melbourne: 66 games – 21 wins, 45 losses. Winning percentage: 31.82%; no finals.
• Ladder position year before handover – 13th.
• 2021: Ben Rutten succeeds John Worsfold, coaches first AFL game aged 37 years, 296 days.
• Rutten at Essendon: 15 games – 6 wins, 9 losses. Winning percentage: 40%.
• Worsfold at Essendon: 107 games – 45 wins, 1 draw, 61 losses. Winning percentage: 42.52%; 2 finals
Keep up to date with the best AFL coverage in the country. Sign up for the Real Footy newsletter.