AT A GLANCE
Born: Adelaide, January 19, 1961.
Children: Thomas and Ellen.
Parents: Bill and Von.
Siblings: Bill, Les, Peter and Kerry.
Education: Cowandilla Primary School Adelaide before going to Plympton High School Adelaide.
Sporting Highlight: Being the reserves footy coach at East Warrnambool in 1991 when we made the grand final. Sadly we lost the game to Allansford.
Keith, what are your memories of that reserves grand final back in 1991?
Personally, I had a big day even before the game.
The final was supposed to start at noon, but I was very busy before that.
I gave a mate of mine who was playing in the game a hand to move house.
Then one of our players, who had been playing with a broken bone in his wrist, had to go to the hospital to have a plaster cast put over his hand.
I went there with him. He was our ruckman.
I note you were born in Adelaide and went to school over there. What year did you move to Warrnambool?
It would have been in 1983. I had travelled to various parts of Australia where I had been surfing and I would often get to a place called Cactus.
It's near Penong in South Australia. Keen surfers head there to catch a wave.
While I was there on one trip, I came across about 15 blokes who said they were from Warrnambool.
They spoke in glowing terms of Warrnambool and encouraged me to go and visit.
I've ended up living there for nearly 40 years.
Can you remember what your first job was when you moved across the border to Warrnambool?
I can vividly remember the job.
It was digging spuds for Frank Holscher at Southern Cross. They were 50 kilo bags.
It was hard work, but I enjoyed it.
The picking of spuds on the stinking hot days was tough but it was tougher when you had to load the bags on the truck before you got paid.
I also went and picked spuds for Damien Mugavin and Frank Madden.
How did it happen that you got to play footy for East Warrnambool?
I went to the pub and a few of the blokes were wondering if I wanted to have a game of footy.
They were connected with East Warrnambool and they had heard I had played footy in Adelaide before I made the move to Warrnambool.
I played in a practice game at East Warrnambool and I was made most welcome.
I was offered a job with Denis Thompson Furniture Removals and I took up the offer. Denis was great to me.
That was back in 1984 and I'm still heavily involved with the club today.
My footy career came to a halt in the preseason of 1993.
What happened to you in 1993?
I had a compound fracture of my right knee.
It was simple how the fracture occurred, but the impact it caused to me and my family for many years was major.
It happened at the Jones Oval. I was just running down the wing and I was tackled from behind.
I snapped four ligaments, two hamstrings and two calf muscles in my leg.
Dr Adam Fliegleman reset the knee up at the Base Hospital, but I had to go to the Alfred Hospital for the operation. There was early talk that they might have had to cut my foot off because of circulation problems.
I found out later they were thinking of also taking my leg off below the knee.
It was a very worrying time for my family and myself.
A week after the surgery it was found out I had golden staph.
I ended up losing 25kg in three days. I went from 75kg down to 50kg in the three days.
It took me more then two-and-half years to get over that problem.
I was very lucky I had my wife Liz and my in-laws Kevin and Pam Stacey there to support me.
Our son Thomas was only two months old.
I'm one of the lucky ones I've got a few scars on my leg, but I don't have a limp.
I was working for Reg Owen at the time - he was a wonderful support.
For two years after that injury, I struggled to go to the footy.
My wife Liz would take me to the game and I always wanted to go home at quarter-time. I was really frustrated.
I was at the club in 1996 and Kath Chapman, a real stalwart of East Warrnambool, asked me if I would be interested in coaching the under 13s.
I wanted to give something back to the club so I took up the role.
We used to have a lot of kids at training back in that era when we were down at the Jones Oval.
I ended up coaching all the junior grades at various stages.
I think the thing that made it difficult for our juniors was when we moved from the Jones Oval to the Reid Oval.
We sort of had a pocket of young kids that lived around the Jones Oval.
I was president of East Warrnambool in 2005, but could only fill the role for one year because of work commitments.
Jess Densley was our senior coach and we made the preliminary final. He did a sensational job.
I was made a life member of the club in 2000.
The club has played a massive part in my life and that of my family.
I'm passionate about the club and I want to see it has a future.
The club had some bad apples like all clubs, but we got rid of them.
The club is focused on looking at the future.
Keith, East Warrnambool is in recess for the 2021 season. How does the future look for the club?
We're working hard behind the scenes to ensure the club can continue.
My children played footy and netball there. It's a really family club.
We've spoken to various players off the record to see if they would commit to us in 2021.
I would say once the works are finished at the Reid, our club will have wonderful facilities for our players, supporters and sponsors.