Vale Tom Hafey: tributes flow for AFL's super fit coach
TOM Hafey, one of AFL's greatest coaches, has died at the age of 82, prompting a flood of tributes from clubs including Richmond, Collingwood and the Sydney Swans.
Hafey played 67 games for the Tigers between 1953 and 1958 and then later coached the club to four premierships in 1967, 1969, 1973 and 1974.
He was renowned for his incredible fitness and expected the same of players, maintaining his team should be the fittest in the competition.
Hafey also coached Geelong, Collingwood and the Sydney Swans during a career that spanned 22 years.
The AFL great had an operation to remove a brain tumour in March this year but was later admitted to hospital with complications.
Richmond chief executive Brendon Gale says the Tigers are mourning the loss of the club legend, the ABC reported.
"This is an extremely sad day in Richmond's history, to have lost a giant of the Club in Tommy Hafey," Gale said.
"His coaching achievements at Tigerland are legendary and he was a constant source of inspiration to the Yellow and Black.
"His mantra of hard work, discipline, dedication, persistence, honesty, loyalty, integrity, good health and vitality, was not only the recipe for success on the football field, but success in his wonderful life."
The Tigers will organise a special tribute for Hafey at Saturday's game against Melbourne.
Collingwood also in tribute to Tom Hafey
Collingwood president, Eddie McGuire, described Hafey's passing, at the age of 82, as the felling of a giant of the game.
"It wasn't simply the incredible success he enjoyed as a coach that stood him apart from so many. It was what he stood for," McGuire said in a tribute on the club's website.
"He lived the life he wanted his players to live. If he could do it, they could do it. He was often referred to as a player's man, which is true, but I think he was also a club man in the sense that he built not only great teams but great clubs.
"He invariably left behind a stronger football club, a club that knew a lot more about what it took to succeed.
"He was idiosyncratic, with his t-shirts and cups of tea and all the rest of it - 'T-shirt Tommy' - but he picked Collingwood up at its lowest ebb and took it to a remarkable period of sustained success.
"He loved the game and footballers and football followers loved him. He left an indelible mark on the Collingwood Football Club as he did with the hundreds of thousands of people he met through his passion for football.
"Our thoughts are with Tommy's wife Maureen, their children Rhonda, Karen and Jo, and the extended family."