Phil Smith was the first person to become a Life Member of the organisation in 1986. He was given the award at a presentation ceremony following the 1986 Nationals in Glenelg. Phil was instrumental in the development of the Australian Touch Association (ATA) as well as the formation of the Federation of Touch (FIT).
His efforts within the sport were further recognised when a medal was named his honour. The ‘Phil Smith Medal’ is awarded to a player who shares Phil’s qualities of leadership, sportsmanship and outstanding contribution at the highest level to the sport of Touch Football at international events.
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 Life Membership in 1994.
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 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 and has upgraded many coaching manuals, as well as designed 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 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.
Brian Rooney was awarded Life Membership in 2004.
Brian has been involved in Touch Football in many roles filling many different coaching, playing, tour management and administrative positions. 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.
Bob Dyke and Ray Vawdon
45 years ago, two men – Bob Dyke and Ray Vawdon – officially created the sport of Touch Football in South Sydney, mostly to allow retired Rugby League players a sport they could stay involved in.
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 in 1976.
The pair were delighted when the sport was asked to be the curtain raiser for the replay of the 1977 Sydney Rugby League Grand Final, allowing the sport to be showcased to 40,000+ fans.
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 to tell the tale of the sports humble beginning to the national and international event it has become.
Both men received Life Membership in 2010.
Paul Eggers has had a long term involvement in Touch Football and its administration, and became a Life Member in 2011.
In 1974, Paul called a meeting and formed the Gold Coast Touch Association, and was named the 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 Touch Football Australia 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. He is still involved in Touch Football today, refereeing in the local Gold Coast competition and at selected events.
Ian Matthew has been involved in Touch Football for over 35 years and has held a myriad of positions right throughout the sport over the years from grass roots to international. He was inducted as a Life Member in 2011.
Amongst his achievements include being the International Director of Referees (1999 to present), on the International Referees Panel (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 attended two World Cups as a referee and four as either a Director or Panel member. He 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 was given a NSWTA State Referee 25 Year Service Award in 2010.
As well as this, Ian has also been pivotal in innovations including the Referee Retention and Recruitment Program, Emerging High Performance Referee Program, Talented Referee Youth Squad (TRYS Program) and the 2x2x2 on field system.
Peter Rooney became involved in Touch Football in the late 1960’s as a referee before helping set up the Cronulla competition in 1972. He then formally set up a referees association at Cronulla Touch and helped run a competition that had over 100 teams in it.
Peter then got involved with the New South Wales Touch Association, forming the New South Wales Touch Referees Association.
In the early 1970’s Peter started coaching referees and in the late 1970’s the Association held its first graded referees night. He then formed the Australian Touch Football Referees Association in 1981.
During the 1970’s Peter also became a Board Member of the New South Wales Touch Association, and following that became President of the Association.
In 1983, he became President of the Australian Touch Association (ATA), being President of both New South Wales and Australia at the same time for approximately 18 months. He was also the Referees Director of the ATA between the years of 1980 and 1982. Peter was also appointed the role of the first Executive Director of the ATA in the early 1980’s.
He 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.
Furthermore, Peter was also involved 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 in the years of 1986 through to 1989.
He returned to the Board during troubled times as Chairman of Touch Football Australia for the 2006/07 period, while he was also a Director in the 2007/08 period.
Cathy Gray’s involvement in the sport spans over 30 years, initially getting involved through teaching her school students about the game. This progressed into the selecting discipline, with Cathy holding many positions over the years, including being the Director of High Performance since 1999.
Amongst Cathy’s other achievements include being on the TFA Talent Identification Panel from 1990-1998, the TFA Selectors Panel from 1996-1998 and the TFA Director of Selectors from 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 is the first female Life Member of Touch Football Australia, receiving the honour in 2012.
Dennis Coffey’s involvement with in the sport has spanned over three decades, being the inaugural National Coaching Director of the organisation and more recently the National Coaching Director between the years of 2000-2010.
He was previously an Australian Touch Football representative, playing in the 1988 World Cup as well as against New Zealand in 1991.
Dennis is also responsible for creating many resources about Touch Football over his time involved, including being credited for writing the inaugural playing rules of Touch.
His current focus is at an international level with his role as Secretary General of the Federation of International Touch (FIT).
Dennis became a Life Member in 2012.
Bill Ker was awarded life membership at the 2014 Touch Football Australia (TFA) Annual General Meeting (AGM).
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 attending the first North Queensland Championships. Bill was the executive officer of Queensland Touch from 1984-1994 and the Chief Executive Officer of the then Australian Touch Association from 1994-2005. During this time Bill was one of three committee members who initiated and introduced the National Touch League concept. Bill served from 1995-2007 on the World Cup events committee and is now the current 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 Touch Football Australia network who have reached 12 or more years of service to the sport.
Lou Tompkins was awarded life membership at the 2014 Touch Football Australia (TFA) Annual General Meeting (AGM).
Lou has been an integral member of the referee arm of Touch Football for many years. Lou has served on the Federation of International Touch Referees Panel since 1995 to present. Lou was also the Touch Football Australia National Director of Referees from 2005-2010. Lou is the current Touch Football Australia National Referee Coach Development Advisor.
Lou is a Level 4 Referee Coach and Presenter. Lou has attended countless national and international tournaments, organising and presenting at most coaching courses, seminars and workshops.