This weekend we sadly bid farewell to a much loved personality at SUANFC. Paul Markou, current Colts Senior Coach, will be leaving us after this weekends game to pursue an excellent opportunity in the Northern Territory with the Clontarf Foundation.
Since joining the club in March 2014, Paul has worked tirelessly to improve the colts program and develop it into a market leading program. Paul’s tenacity and drive have been the two key pillars that enabled the program to succeed. Our club now has a colts program that is developing more senior players than ever before. We are also seeing more numbers coming through the door, choosing to play with SUANFC over nearby rivals.
It has been a privilege to see Paul grow into this role. He has engaged multiple stakeholders along the journey and sold his vision far and wide. It is hard not to be excited about what the future holds for this team. The current members of the colts squad have all clearly been transformed under Pauls leadership. To illustrate this read through some the statements from the boys in the leadership group:
“Thanks Paul for all you have done for the boys and I over the last couple of years. You always bring out the best in us, teach us heaps and it’s always done with great banter”
“A charismatic footy head, mentor and coach who wrote the book on ‘how not to be a d…head’ and influenced colt’s boys attitudes both on and off the field”
“Paul… Thanks for being there for me when I was down and out. Thanks for believing in me when even I had my own doubts. We hate you when you put us through those ruthless drills. But it becomes worthwhile when we are exposed to victory’s thrill. When I go out to play, it’s for two things – the desire to win and an obligation to do justice to an outstanding coach and role model. Thank you for everything.”
“Thanks for a great run Pauly. Your passion for the club and most importantly the team will remain as it inspired all the boys, including myself. Thank you for making me a greater player and I hope you show others what you have shown me. Keep it Swag. “
“Pauly was one of the best coaches and people I have ever played under. His dedication to the team can be seen when he turns up early to training to give extra practice to those who want it. He is an absolute legend and I’m going miss him heaps”
Quite clearly Paul has a gift and we were lucky to have him use this at our club. As club President Chas Wilkinson is all too aware, “First introduced to Paul, he came recommended by none less than Setanta O’hAilpin with endorsements from AFL at a state development level. Paul presented with vision and then delivered the drive to execute that vision. Paul is not only a young man who I felt could coach, rather act as a leader and role model mentor to our next generation of player, he has also delivered on this front. Giving Paul a gig at SUANFC was an easy decision, having said this, he has not taken anything for granted, he’s worked industrially hard. He is a big loss; however it’s a huge credit to have had Paul Markou lead our Colts Program.”
Gavin Nelson, Colts VP, has been Pauls close advisor and right hand man. They had formed a formidable team that was taking the program to never before seen heights, ”It’s tough to sum up the man known as Pav. Paul Markou has driven our Colts program to an amazing level while driving superior team and individual performance. Paul is incredibly focused, dedicated and 100% committed to the boys. Our perfect start to the 2016 season is a result of Paul’s efforts in recruiting through junior club engagement and an excellent pre season. Paul is destined for a great future and will be missed but not forgotten as we continue to build and grow.”
Writing this piece for Paul has not been easy. It is through misty eyes that I reminisce on the moments I have shared with a young man that wants to make a positive difference in the world. Paul’s insatiable appetite for innovation and bucking trends inspired me in my role at the club. While we know Paul is leaving, he has clearly left the club in better shape, a sign of respect and integrity from a great man.
Paul, I speak on behalf of the club and say thank you. You will be welcomed back in a heartbeat. We wish you all the very best.