DAVID Parkin prefers to think he was lucky throughout his distinguished coaching career but ask any of his former players and they insist that that simply was not the case.
Parkin is one of the greats of the AFL, having played 211 games for Hawthorn, including captaining the 1971 premiership side, before turning to coaching.
One of the first innovative coaches, he led the Hawks to the 1978 flag and guided Carlton to successive premierships in 1981-'82 in his first stint with the Blues.
After coaching Fitzroy for three seasons (1986-'89), he returned to the Blues and delivered the '95 flag.
Renowned for his attention to detail, Parkin, also a university lecturer, insisted his players study or have a job outside of football, hopefully ensuring their transition to life after sport was made easier.
"I believed that was part of my role. I believe good leadership is about being passionate about getting the result you want," he said.
"At the same time, you have got to care about people beyond their so-called capacity to produce the performance for which they have been employed.
"I don't think I was a very good coach. Seriously, all bar the last premiership, they were given to me really, they were great players.
"But the things that my players tell me now, what they are doing beyond football, most of them have traced back to the encouragement in what we gave them in what we called NFE - the non-football engagement."
Parkin said he was honoured to be recognised this Australia Day for his significant service to football.