Queensland coach Richard Graham says he can feel for Ewen McKenzie but says there is no room for the ex-Wallabies mentor at the Reds.

He may feel for Ewen McKenzie but good mate Queensland coach Richard Graham has ruled out the ex-Wallabies mentor returning to the Reds in the wake of his shock resignation.

While Graham admitted he had not been able to speak to McKenzie since his friend stunned the rugby world by walking away on Saturday night, the Reds mentor empathised with his former mentor.

Graham tried to keep his emotions in check on Monday but clearly felt for the man who had lured him from the Western Force and groomed him as Reds head coach in 2013.

“I know Ewen well. As a friend and as a coach I have a lot of empathy for him,” he said.

“I have watched like everyone how the situation unfolded the last couple of days – it’s a sad time for our game.”

Asked about McKenzie returning to the Reds which he led to the 2011 Super Rugby title, Graham said: “The coaching staff for 2015 is settled here at the Reds – that’s all I have to say.”

McKenzie has already been linked to the Argentina national job or resuming a coaching career in Europe.

Graham said it had taken just weeks for Australian rugby to reach a new low point – but hoped public perception of the code could change just as quickly.

“On the back of what was a really good Super Rugby season and the NSW Waratahs winning and the Brumbies doing well, that put us in a really good position,” he said.

“It has been a short period of about four weeks (for it to unravel).

“That (recovery) will be tasked to people in a higher position than me but perception can change very quickly.

“The appointment of the right coach, a successful spring tour leading into another Super Rugby campaign – that can change the perception of where the game is at.”