Kevin Sheedy has an impressive record in Australian football as player and coach, but despite his epic achievements in these roles, his most profound influence may be the innovations he proposed and supported. He has left an indelible mark on the game.
Kevin Sheedy played 251 games with Richmond between 1967 and 1979. He was a member of three Premiership sides (1969, ’73, ’74) was club Best and Fairest in 1976 and captain in 1978. He was selected in eight Victorian state teams.
At his retirement some commentators observed that his considerable achievements were due not so much to abundant natural talent but to determination and the thoughtful application of his abilities.
This ability to analyse quickly became evident when he took over as coach of Essendon in 1981 and began building the sides that won Premierships in 1984 and 1985.
He went on to coach Essendon for 27 years, playing in the finals on 19 of those years, for seven Grand Final appearances and four Premierships (’84, ’85, ’93, 2000). His coaching record stands at 386 wins, 242 losses, and seven draws. He coached the Victorian side in 1986 and the Australian teams in the International Rules competitions of 2005 and 2006.
For many involved in Australian football however, Kevin Sheedy’s most enduring legacy will be the changes that he promoted and supported. He was a proponent of the extended interchange bench (from two payers to four) which has eased the physical demands on players caused by the increasing speed of the game and of the creation of the annual Essendon-Collingwood ANZAC Day fixture. He was also, with Essendon committeeman Bill Kelty, an architect of AFL traineeships to provide career opportunities to footballers.
Kevin Sheedy has been a great promoter and supporter of indigenous players, developing initiatives to take the game to indigenous communities and to foster and develop promising players. He also promoted the creation of an annual Essendon-Richmond Dreamtime match to recognise their achievements. He has watched with pride as these and other initiatives have brought about a steady expansion of the number of indigenous players, the rewards they enjoy and the role models they provide. For all the Premiership trophies he has held aloft as player and coach, it is this legacy that may give him greatest satisfaction.
Honours, Awards & Achievements
Awarded AO at 2019 Australia Day
Elevated to Legend into the Australian Football Hall of Fame (Coach) – 2018
Inducted into The Sport Australia Hall of Fame – 2009
Inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame (Coach) -2008
All-Australian Coach – 1984, 1985, 1993, 2000
Jock McHale Medal – 1984, 1985, 1993, 2000
International Rules Coach – 2005, 2006
Coached 635 games
Team of the Century (Coach)
Hall of Fame – Legend
Premiership Coach 1984, 1985, 1993, 2000
Team of the Century
Hall of Fame
Premiership player 1969, 1973, 1974
Best and Fairest 1976
Coach 2012 -2013