The 56-year-old – who lists Cheltenham, Burnley, Portsmouth, Nottingham Forest and Bristol City among his former clubs – was revealed as Sam Ricketts’ successor at Montgomery Waters Meadow, ending a stint of more than two years out the game.
Cotterill has known Shrewsbury chairman Roland Wycherley for around 17 years – since the club’s relegation to the Conference, by which point the boss had taken Cheltenham into the league with two promotions.
And after taking some time to reflect on his last job at Birmingham City – which began as a No.2 to Harry Redknapp, in the 2017/18 season – Cotterill is now certain that he is the right place to ‘build the club’.
“I’m not a first-time manager, therefore I don’t have to accept the job opportunities that come my way if I don’t feel they are right,” said Cotterill in his first interview as Town boss.
“I felt as though my next one needed to be right and my next chairman needed to be right.”
Cotterill, who will be relocating from Bristol for the role, revealed that since leaving Birmingham in March 2018 he has turned down several opportunities, including lucrative jobs abroad, and been pipped to the post at two Championship clubs. But he’s happy to have landed in Shropshire.
“I thought this would be a good fit for me,” he added. “I think there’s plenty of building to be done at the club and I’m looking forward to it.
“I’ve been impressed with Brian Caldwell and the chairman I know will trust me to build the football club and I feel that is important for the manager.
“I’ve been in charge of some great clubs, and they still are great clubs, but there’s nothing to say we’re not a great club. We can be a great club.”
Cotterill explained that a meeting with Wycherley and his directors after Town’s relegation to the Conference in 2003 helped strike up their friendship.
The Town chairman asked for advice on climbing out of the Conference, and the four hours Cotterill spared have not been forgotten.
As he did at Bristol City in December 2013, Cotterill takes over a club second-bottom of League One, with a first game in the FA Cup second round, where Shrews host non-league Oxford City on Sunday.
Within 16 months at the Robins, the manager won the Football League Trophy and stormed to the third tier title, winning 99 points in the process while playing attacking, expressive and progressive football.
For now, at Town, he is keeping the aims to the short-term. He added: “I’m not ducking the question, you’ll want me to say ‘we can get here’. But let’s try to get to where we can potentially get to in three months.
“We’ve got a load of games now, then we have a transfer window, then we’re back to normality – not just crowds being in – but the squad is ‘what we’ve got’ at the end of that window.
“There could be a lot of toing and froing, a lot of ups and downs in the meantime. I’ve had experiences of taking over clubs at the bottom, that’s what happens.
“When they are down at the bottom, you don’t all of a sudden go to play-off form, you go up and down again, it’s a little bit of a rollercoaster ride – I think it’ll be like that for the rest of the season.
“We’ve got to hammer home the good points to the players when we have them. In the meantime we’ve got to make sure that our hard work, honesty, endeavour comes through to get us those wins back-to-back. We’ve got to make sure we’re hard-working, cohesive, all of those things, healthy, competitive, that’s what I want to get into the group.”
Cotterill will bring in members of his own backroom staff, but is yet to make the calls after a whirlwind 48 hours.
In the meantime, beginning against Oxford City, he said he is looking for guidance and assistance from existing staff members, including goalkeeper coach Brian Jensen, who he managed at Burnley, and Town’s fitness and physio team.