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TFA Life Members

Life Member is the highest honour that can be bestowed on a member of Touch Football Australia



Phil Smith

In 1986, Phil Smith was the first person ever to become a Life Member of TFA. He was bestowed the award at a presentation ceremony following the 1986 Nationals in Glenelg. Phil was instrumental in the development of the Australian Touch Association (the ATA but now TFA) as well as the formation of the Federation of International Touch (FIT). His efforts within the sport were further recognised when a medal was named his honour. The ‘Phil Smith Medal’ is awarded to players who share Phil’s qualities of leadership, sportsmanship and outstanding contribution at the highest level to the sport of Touch Football at international events.



Dick Fairbairn

Dick was another contributor who had a significant influence in the creation of Touch Football internationally. When the first Federation of International Touch (FIT) Board was elected in Adelaide in 1986, Dick was elected as Director of Finance. His efforts for the sport were recognised when he was named Official of the Year in the 1994 All-Stars of Touch side. Dick was awarded TFA Life Membership in 1994.



Barrie Keenahan

Barrie Keenahan first started a Touch Football competition in 1978 in Wollongong. In that same year he was elected President of the Referees Association and Director of Referees, a position he held for many years. He was also a former Leading Referee himself. Barrie was awarded TFA Life Membership in 1994.



Dr Paul Webb

Paul has been involved with Touch Football since 1983 and is responsible for many of the technical publications, including upgrading many coaching manuals and designing coaching courses. In 1994 Paul was awarded the Eunice Gill Coach Education Merit Award. Dr Paul Webb was awarded Life Membership in 1996.



Cary Thompson

Cary Thompson was awarded Life Membership in 1996 and is widely known as ‘Mr Touch’. Cary first became involved with Touch Football in 1970, helping to establish the Manly-Warringah Touch Association and was responsible for drawing up the association’s constitution. Cary was the President of the Federation of International Touch (FIT) for 16 years and has coached America and Japan in separate World Cups. He has also led development tours to Japan, South Africa, England and Scotland.



Bob Dyke and Ray Vawdon

In 1968, Bob Dyke and Ray Vawdon officially created the sport of Touch Football in South Sydney. After starting the South Sydney Touch Association in 1968, Bob and Ray went on to found the New South Wales Touch Association in 1972 and were two of the driving forces behind the establishment of the Australian Touch Association (now Touch Football Australia) in 1976. Bob was the first full-time paid administrator in the sport of Touch Football, while Ray’s contribution to the sport was rewarded when the Sydney Championships, the Vawdon Cup, was named in his honour. Bob wrote a book, The Story of Touch, which tells the story of the sport. Both men received Life Membership in 2010.



Brian Rooney

Brian has been involved in Touch Football in many roles, including coaching, playing, tour managing and administrating. He has coached Australian Masters sides, travelled as Head Coach and Tour Manager for both Open and Youth World Cups, and has worked as the TFA Commercial Director, President, Finance Director and as a Board member. Brian has dedicated a great deal of time and energy towards the New South Wales Touch Association, its local associations, teams, individuals and volunteers. Brian Rooney was awarded TFA Life Membership in 2004.



Paul Eggers

In 1974, Paul called a meeting and formed the Gold Coast Touch Association, and was appointed Secretary-Treasurer of the Association. Paul was at the meeting where the Australian Touch Association was formed in 1978 and was elected the Co-Director of Promotions. Paul was also the Vice President of the Australian Touch Association from 1985 until 1989. In 1979 Paul formed the Queensland Touch Association and was named the Foundation President of the Association, a role he held through to 1992. Paul was involved in the organisation of the first National Championships in 1980. In 1986, he was named the foundation President of the Federation of International Touch (FIT), a role he held through to 1990. Paul returned to the TFA Board in the 2006/07 period as a Director. Paul received foundation Life Membership of the Queensland Touch Association and the Gold Coast Touch Association, while he is also a Life Member of South Queensland and Border Districts Touch Association. Paul became a TFA Life Member in 2011.



(L-R) Ian Matthew, Michael Rush



Ian Matthew

Among Ian's Touch Football achievements include being the International Director of Referees (1999 to present), International Referees Panel Member (1999 to present), New South Wales Touch Association (NSWTA) Board Member (1999 to present), National Referees Panel Member (1993 to present), NSWTA Referees Director (1992 to present), NSWTA Referees Panel (1991 to present) and NSWTA Technical Director (1999 to present). Ian became a Life Member of NSWTA in 2002, and in 2006, the NSWTA Referee of the Year award was renamed the ‘Ian Matthew Medal’. Ian received a TFA 25 Year Service Award in 2013, and a NSWTA State. He was inducted as a TFA Life Member in 2011.



Peter Rooney

Peter Rooney became involved in Touch Football in the late 1960s as a referee before helping set up the Cronulla competition in 1972. Peter formed the NSW Touch Referees, and later, the Australian Touch Football Referees Association. During the 1970s Peter also became a Board Member, and later President, of the NSWTA. In 1983, he became President of the Australian Touch Association (ATA), making him President of both NSW and Australia at the same time for approximately 18 months. He was also the Referees Director of the ATA from 1980 to 1982, and the first Executive Director of the ATA in the early 1980s. Peter was involved in the formation of the first National Championships on the Gold Coast in 1980 and continued his involvement through until the eighth National Championships. He also played a role in the creation of the Federation of International Touch (FIT). He became the Secretary General of FIT and was involved in the first World Cup on the Gold Coast in 1988. Peter was on the FIT Board from 1986 to 1989. He returned to the Board as Chairman of TFA for the 2006/07 period, and Director in 2007/08.



Cathy Gray

(L-R) Elin Mortimer, Cathy Gray, Scott Buckley



Cathy Gray

Cathy initially became involved in Touch Football through teaching her school students about the game. This progressed into the selection arena, with Cathy currently being a highly valued TFA volunteer in the High Performance, Athlete Monitoring and Integrity role. Among Cathy’s achievements are being on the TFA Talent Identification Panel 1990-1998, the Selectors Panel 1996-1998 and the Director of Selectors 1998-1999. She was also awarded the Ron Hanson Medal at the 2010 Masters Trans-Tasman Series and the Phil Smith Medal at the 2011 World Cup in Scotland. Cathy was the first female Life Member of TFA, receiving the honour in 2012.



Dennis Coffey

Dennis’s involvement was the inaugural National Coaching Director for TFA and, more recently, the National Coaching Director from 2000 to 2010. He was previously an Australian Touch Football representative, playing in the 1988 World Cup as well as against New Zealand in 1991. Dennis is responsible for creating many resources about Touch Football, including the inaugural playing rules of Touch, and he has been Secretary General of the Federation of International Touch (FIT). Dennis became a TFA Life Member in 2012.



Bill Ker

Bill’s involvement with Touch Football has been extensive, starting off as Vice President of Gold Coast Touch in 1976. Bill was also a keen player, and attended the first North Queensland Championships. Bill was the Executive Officer of Queensland Touch from 1984 to 1994, and the CEO of the then Australian Touch Association, from 1994 to 2005. During this time Bill was one of three committee members who initiated and introduced the National Touch League concept. Bill served from 1995 to 2007 on the World Cup events committee and is now the Secretary General of the Federation of International Touch (FIT). Bill’s many achievement also include being a Level 5 referee and being awarded the Australian Sports Medal in 2000. Bill is also a Life Member of the Gold Coast and Queensland Touch Associations. The Bill Ker medal is named in his honour for staff in the TFA network who have reached 12 or more years of service to the sport. Bill Ker became a Life Member in 2014.



Lou Tompkins

Lou has been an integral member of the referee arm of Touch Football for many years. Lou served on the Federation of International Touch Referees Panel, he was the TFA National Director of Referees from 2005 to 2010, and has been the TFA National Referee Coach Development Advisor. Lou has attended countless national and international tournaments, organising and presenting at most coaching courses, seminars and workshops. Lou Tompkins became a TFA Life Member in 2014.

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