Former Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has reportedly agreed to a five-year deal with the Suns to be the next Gold Coast coach, with an announcement seen likely to be made as early as next week.

Hardwick has been heavily linked to the vacancy since Stuart Dew's departure last month, with the triple premiership-winning coach seen as the perfect man to lead the Queensland club to their maiden finals finish.

The Suns parted with Dew, who had one year remaining on his contract, after six seasons with the club and amid another campaign that was on course to fall outside of the top eight.

Hardwick resigned from his post at Punt Road in May after 14 years with the Tigers, who he led to a drought-breaking premiership win in 2017 before adding two more flags to his CV in 2019 and 2020.

While initially seen as unlikely to be back in the coaching landscape as early as this year, Hardwick is understood to have agreed to step back into the hot seat and join the Suns, according to The Herald Sun. The Suns have reportedly secured a commitment from Hardwick, who will join the Suns on a five-year deal.

The publication's report suggests Hardwick's appointment could be confirmed as early as next week, with the former Richmond mentor to help lead the club's off-season plans once he returns from an overseas holiday.

Both Gold Coast interim coach Steven King and football boss Wayne Campbell are expected to remain with the club in 2024 despite Hardwick's arrival.

Richmond Tigers Training Session
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 07: Richmond senior coach, Damien Hardwick gives directions during a Richmond Tigers AFL training session at Punt Road Oval on April 07, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

King would remain as an assistant coach, while Campbell's position was initially seen to be under threat as reports suggested Hardwick was keen to bring Brisbane football boss Danny Daly to Carrara.

King will also see out the remainder of the season as the Suns' caretaker coach, with matches against Carlton and North Melbourne remaining.

While the Suns have fallen short of a finals finish in 2023 - facing a best-case outcome of 11 wins for the year - Hardwick's arrival will come at an exciting time for the AFL's second-youngest side.

Gold Coast are home to one of the most exciting lists in the competition, with youthful and promising talent spread across their squad, headlined by midfielders Matt Rowell, Noah Anderson, Bailey Humphrey and forward Ben King.

The Suns are also in line to add a trio of top draft stars to their list, with a trio of Academy prospects likely to join Hardwick's squad at this year's National Draft. All of Jed Walter, Ethan Read and Jake Rogers are seen as potential top 10 draft prospects among the class of 2023, with the Suns having priority access to each of the three highly-rated teenagers.

Hardwick amassed a record of 170 wins, six draws and 131 losses across his 307 games in charge of Richmond between 2010-2023.