Dean, have you always barracked for Richmond?
Yes, I’ve always barracked for the Tigers.
I’ve been a member for more than 15 years.
It’s great to see the club hit the 90,000 membership number.
Full credit to the administration at the club and the players for their efforts on and off the field.
We’ve started off the 2018 season in fine style.
With a bit of luck, the Tigers may win back-to-back flags.
I note that you were born and educated in Ararat. When did you move to Warrnambool?
It was in 1990. I had a gap year from university.
I had been working part-time at one of the wineries at Ararat.
I got into an art and design course at TAFE for one year before studying at Warrnambool’s Deakin University campus for three years.
I had played footy up at Ararat.
I must admit up front that I never had much ability on the footy field.
But when I went to Deakin, I was encouraged to play for the Sharks in 1990.
Robert Peake was the senior coach at the Sharks back in that era.
I played centre-half-forward in the reserves.
We won a couple of games, so I got the chance to do the famous shark shuffle.
I stayed on to play with the club in 1991 before going back to play up in Ararat the next season.
I spent the next two years playing footy in Ararat but would travel back down to Warrnambool for study and work.
Did you play for any other football club in the Warrnambool area when you moved down here permanently?
Yes. I joined Russells Creek in 1995.
I played in the reserves when I joined the club.
Russells Creek had a lot of success back in that era, winning senior flags.
I would have to say the best part of my time at Creek was when I met my future wife, Sally.
She was a pretty good netballer and won the league best and fairest one year.
I coached Russells Creek's under 14 side from 1999 to 2007.
I missed coaching in 2000 because our daughter Jessica passed away in late 1999.
She had a heart blockage and was operated on but never recovered.
My son Lachlan was eight years old in 2008.
He went up to the Warrnambool Football Netball Club for Auskick and I tagged along.
I ended up being the co-ordinator for Auskick at the club in 2009 until 2012.
That was when the club introduced Auskick for the girls and I took over that role.
We had 20 girls at the beginning, aged from under 6 to under 12.
I was fortunate enough to win the volunteer of the year award in the Hampden Football Netball League in 2011 and in 2012, I won the Victoria coach of the year award for Auskick.
It was a great thrill to win the award, which was presented at the MCG.
I was appointed as coach of Warrnambool’s under 18 girls side in 2017.
We only won the one game, but it was a wonderful experience for the girls if they wish to take their football careers to the next step.
I’m dong the job again this year.
We’ve got a squad of 28 girls this season.
There’s a total of 11 under 18 sides in the competition.
They come from up at Stawell and Horsham to numerous sides down here.
Do the girls train many nights in the week for the footy?
We train on Mondays and Thursdays and usually play on Sundays after the under 16 boys games.
The good thing about the girls footy this season is there will be 10 rounds compared to only six last year. There’s a few extra sides this year which will make for a better competition.
Dean, during your footy career did you suffer any injuries?
I injured my left knee when I was playing at Warrnambool.
That was the end of my career.
I had a couple of minor injuries, but nothing was like the knee injury.
Have you been involved in any other sports?
I’ve been involved in a few other sports in the area.
I’ve followed my children into whatever sports they have chosen to take up.
Lachlan took up Little Athletics in 2006 and I got on involved with the Warrnambool club.
I finished up on the committee and then took over as vice-president at the Warrnambool Little Athletics Club in 2009.
I was also the team manager.
I also filled a role on the committee for Little Athletics in the south west region from 2013 to 2014.
Another sport I’ve been heavily involved with is at the Warrnambool Surf Life Saving Club.
I started off as the age manager for the nippers program.
I then took over as the nippers co-ordinator from 2010 until 2017.
We have 220 kids enrolled in the nippers program.
We usually start the program at the end of November and go through to the end of March.
We also have a development squad which started out with 20 children a few years ago.
Now, the number has grown to 70.
The group go away five times a year to compete against squads from other areas.
I’ve found training with the nippers my health and fitness really improved.
I’m a great believer in keeping active as it’s wonderful for your health and mind.
I just think you get a better balance in your life if you’re out walking or doing some sort of exercise.