Born: September 4, 1959, in Cheviot, New Zealand.
Raised in a proud rugby family, Deans made his debut for Canterbury in 1979 and became an icon of the provincial powerhouse's backline, amassing 146 games and 1,641 points.
He made his New Zealand debut in 1983, playing five Test matches among his 19 games in a brief two-year international career.
EARLY COACHING CAREER:
Assisted by current All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, Deans started his coaching career at Canterbury, guiding the province to a national title in his first year in charge.
He became an assistant coach for the Canterbury Crusaders in the southern hemisphere Super Rugby competition from 1998-99, helping the team to both titles, and a third in succession in 2000 when he became head coach.
Deans guided the Crusaders to another four Super Rugby championships in 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2008 to become the most successful coach in the competition's history.
Appointed an assistant by New Zealand coach John Mitchell in 2001, Deans helped the All Blacks to the 2002-03 Tri-Nations titles over Australia and South Africa, but left the position when Mitchell was replaced following the team's disappointing 2003 World Cup.
After New Zealand failed again at the 2007 World Cup under coach Graham Henry, Deans was widely tipped to be his successor, but Henry persuaded the country's rugby union to retain him in the role.
Deans informed the Australian Rugby Union that he was interested in the vacant Wallabies position after head coach John Connolly stepped down following Australia's quarter-final exit at the 2007 World Cup.
He was granted a late interview and named Australia's first foreign coach in December 2007, a decision criticised by many rugby conservatives in Australia.
With a golden generation of veterans retiring, Deans, whose Australian appointment led to the nickname 'Dingo', was charged with reinvigorating the Wallabies, who had slipped to fifth in world rankings.
A promising start, runners-up in the 2008 Tri-Nations behind New Zealand, was marred by a record 53-8 loss to South Africa in Johannesburg.
Worse was to come in 2009, as the Wallabies crashed to third in the Tri-Nations and a shock loss away to Scotland, placing Deans's position under pressure two years out from the World Cup.
The ARU stood by Deans, however, and the Wallabies' fortunes turned the following year with their first win over South Africa on the highveld in over 40 years.
The Wallabies reclaimed the world number two ranking and enjoyed another breakthrough win over the All Blacks in Hong Kong before winning a truncated Tri-Nations championship in the lead-up to the 2011 World Cup, the first such trophy for the Wallabies in a decade.
Deans was rewarded with a contract extension which would have made him Wallabies coach to the end of 2013.
2011 WORLD CUP:
Despite beating Wales to finish third, Australia were judged to have had a poor World Cup, with New Zealand-born fly-half Quade Cooper struggling in front of home fans and the team suffering a shock early loss to Ireland.
Deans was slammed by rugby pundits Down Under as the Wallabies showcased a stuttering, defensive game with little flair or creativity, and they were bundled out of the semi-finals by eventual champions New Zealand.
Deans was charged with dislodging the All Blacks from top spot last year, but 2012 proved a nightmare for him with a spate of injuries and a sensational public rift with playmaker Cooper.
Fresh calls for Deans's sacking were sparked when the Wallabies suffered another shock loss to Scotland at home in Newcastle, but the Wallabies went on to whitewash Six Nations champions Wales in a hard-fought three-match series.
Having already lost captain James Horwill to injury, Deans lost stand-ins David Pocock and Will Genia in quick succession, robbing the side of some of their best players for the season.
Cooper, sidelined with a serious knee injury, launched an extraordinary attack on Deans, labelling the Wallabies camp a "toxic environment" and threatened to never play another match.
Despite the distractions and injury toll, the Wallabies put in a gallant performance in the inaugural Rugby Championship and finished the season with a successful tour of Europe, marred only by a heavy loss to France.
The three-Test British and Irish Lions series was universally considered Deans's last stand, with a negative result certain to see him replaced by either Queensland Reds coach Ewen McKenzie or World Cup-winner Jake White.
Deans courted controversy in the lead-up by omitting Cooper from his 31-man squad for the tour, and naming James O'Connor fly-half for the series.
The faith Deans paid in the 23-year-old was not rewarded, however, as O'Connor struggled in the pivotal position and distracted the Wallabies' preparations in the leadup to the second Test in Melbourne, when he was photographed at a fast food outlet at four in the morning with team-mate Kurtley Beale.
The Wallabies' dug deep to level the series in Melbourne, but collapsed to a record defeat in the series-decider in Sydney.
The Sydney Test was Deans's 74th and last in charge of Australia. His tenure, the longest ever for a Wallabies coach, officially came to an end on Tuesday when the ARU said he had stepped down from the role.