Hardwick said he expected to see Clarkson at another club in the near future.
“I presume so, I don’t think he will ever be lost to the game,” he said.
“That’s the thing. You have one of the greatest minds of the modern era sitting beside me. He will take a moment, take a breath, then get back into something. If it’s coaching, it’s coaching, but he has a lot of things he can do.”
Clarkson will be paid out about $900,000 by the Hawks, despite not coaching his final season.
After much tumult over a succession plan which was ultimately abandoned, Clarkson enjoyed three wins and a draw in his final month at the Hawks, the latter after the Tigers booted the final five goals, the last by Jack Riewoldt with two seconds remaining.
It’s now over to Mitchell to guide the Hawks through a new era.
“For mine, it’s a baton change. I think we have been able to show in the second half of the year there is enough emerging talent at our footy club to move forward,” Clarkson said.
“Mitch has got to work out what his vision is for the footy club, where he wants to take it. It’s his responsibility now to write a new chapter for the Hawthorn footy club. There has been some great chapters written. I have been really fortunate to be a part of the last one – it’s time for us to renew and get a new chapter written.”
McRae is currently an assistant at Hawthorn, having also spent time with Hardwick at Punt Rd. Both men endorsed the former triple premiership-winning Brisbane Lion.
Hardwick said McRae was well-drilled, incredibly smart, and articulate, while also endorsing Adam Kingsley, his senior assistant, for the Magpies role.
Clarkson backed both men, saying their experiences from working at multiple clubs in various roles held them in good stead. He then took a veiled swipe at the Blues for their lack of club “alignment”.
“I could have been sacked after my second or third year. Dimma nearly was after the end of 2016,” Clarkson said.
“That’s the unfortunate part we hear out of Carlton at the moment with Teaguey – you just wish clubs would hold their line on this a little bit.”