Honouring a visionary in Kevin Cunningham

PASSIONATE: Kevin Cunningham's proud North Ballarat Hall of Fame induction photo. He was also awarded life membership for North Ballarat, the VCFL and BFL.

PASSIONATE: Kevin Cunningham's proud North Ballarat Hall of Fame induction photo. He was also awarded life membership for North Ballarat, the VCFL and BFL.

Kevin Cunningham had high standards in his expectations of all he met and for the game he loved.

His family say this was because Kevin set such high standards for himself in seeing the importance in seemingly small acts and in always seeing potential in everyone.

Football was his great passion. His family and the Ballarat football community are paying tribute to his great vision for the game. Kevin died on Monday night, after a long illness, aged 89.

The North Ballarat Football Club hall of famer closely followed his beloved Roosters’ progress, including their last game via phone.

Kevin started in the game as a Carngham junior and climbed senior ranks through YCW. It was as an administrator that he made his impact on the game.

A devout Catholic, Kevin was instrumental in introducing Sunday football to the BFL in his role as Victorian Country Football League district councillor. He knew it would be good for the game.

Kevin joined North Ballarat as vice-president and selector in 1955 and was president from 1961-62. 

Roosters stalwarts Stanley Roberts and Allan Abrams say Kevin gave his all to the club, like riding his bike around to collect money from publicans or getting out on Northern Oval with a pitch fork after a good rain.

Kevin loved watching his Roosters sitting under the coaches’ box, named in his honour.

He was vocal in his criticism.

A strong South Melbourne supporter, Kevin was often seen at BFL games in earlier days listening to their games on the wireless and watching the Roosters. He used to enjoy giving Golden Point captain-coach Barry Stevens a serve, so much so that Stevens one could take it no more and jumped on Kevin’s wireless – but still held a deep respect for him.

But he also did a lot the quiet way.

Kevin was also known as a popular hairdresser who was about talking footy first, then the haircut, and later as a Tattersall’s agent in Wendouree.

He would often give haircuts or a shave to the elderly or help drive players from Langi Kal Kal, then a youth centre, to matches. His daughters say he kept a great commitment to the development of young men and the game.

He is survived by wife Elsie, children Danny, Stephen, Colleen, Monica, Bernard and Kevin, eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.