27/02/1936 – 16/09/2023
The Sport Australia Hall of Fame is mourning the passing of esteemed Member and Legend Ronald Dale Barassi AM who passed away on Saturday, September 16 at the age of 87.
Regarded as one of the greatest and most important figures in the history of Australian Rules Football, Barassi was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1987 and Elevated to Legend in 2006. Barassi is a Legend for so many reasons; he was an incredible player, a revolutionary coach, and an enduring media personality. For more than 50 years he was the one of the most influential people in the game, and few can match the shadow he casts, if any.
As a player and coach, he took part in 17 grand final appearances for 10 premierships. In a playing career spanning from 1953 to 1969 Barassi played 254 games, and kicked 330 goals. He coached over 500 games.
Ron Barassi AM with Sport Australia Hall of Fame Chair John Bertrand AO being Elevated to Legend Status in 2006.
Sport Australia Hall of Fame Chair, John Bertrand AO, said:
“Ron Barassi often signed his name ‘17-4-10’. Meaning he competed in 17 Grand Finals as a player or coach and won 10! An incredible record, probably never to be surpassed.
Both a kind and loveable rogue, people loved the man, while in contrast he was a ferocious competitor on the field. His favourite saying: ‘If it is to be, it is up to me’.
He was curious, constantly seeking ‘why’. He was a student of life, unlimited in his imagination. In doing so, he revolutionised the game of football.
Ron Barassi has left his indelible mark within our country. A true icon and hero.”
There are few Australians who have dominated, defined and influenced their sport in the way Barassi did. His record as a player and a coach is extraordinary, and his contribution to revolutionising the game is immeasurable.
Bruce McAvaney OAM, Chair of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame Selection Committee, who oversaw, along with then Selection Chair Robert de Castella AO, MBE Barassi’s Elevation to Legend Status in 2006 said:
“Courage, character, charisma. Ron Barassi had all three in spades. He was the Aussie rules footballer that all other great Australian sports people admired.
Ron was the great innovator of his generation, a visionary with a mission to nationalise the AFL. He was fearless in creating change within clubs – and on the field. I’m thinking particularly of the 1970 Grand Final when Carlton hand-balled their way to victory.
He was at the centre of one of the most famous runs in football with six premierships at Melbourne – ten premierships in all, for Melbourne, Carlton and North Melbourne.
There has been no more significant individual in the history of Australian Rules Football. Ron’s passing is a punctuation point in the history of the game. We’ll never see another like him.”
Ron Barassi served on the SAHOF Board from 2002 until 2012 and he is one of only 7 Dual Members of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame – recognised for his significant contributions to sport as both an Athlete Member and General Member.
There are few who have had a greater impact on the game of Australian Rules Football and he leaves an enduring mark on sport in Australia.
The Sport Australia Hall of Fame’s first female inductee and fellow Legend, Dawn Fraser AC MBE, said:
“My deepest condolences to his family. Ron’s passing is a great loss to sport in Australia and he will always be remembered as a beautiful man.”
Barassi was loved and respected by all. He was truly the father of the modern game, and will always be remembered as one of the all time greats.
The Sport Australia Hall of Fame sends our deepest condolences to Cherryl, all of the Barassi family and their many friends at this difficult time.
Read Ron’s full biography here.