BALLARAT'S Redan Football Netball Club has joined Adelaide and the wider footy community to mourn Friday's death of Crows coach and former "Redany" Phil Walsh.
Redan historian Ian Pym said the club had lost one of their own with the Adelaide murder of Walsh while his former coach John Northey described the news as "shocking".
Prior to a VFL/AFL football career which included 122 games as a player with Collingwood, Richmond and the Brisbane Bears, and a long career as first an assistant coach and then senior coach with Geelong, Port Adelaide, West Coast and finally Adelaide, Walsh played two seasons at Redan.
He was a member of the Lions' 1981 team which was defeated in the grand final by Golden Point, being named Redan's best player on the day.
John Northey said Walsh was a professional even as a rookie who Northey knew was destined for great things. The news has floored him.
"You couldn't believe it. When you knew it was true from all the media reports, you felt sick in the stomach.
"He was very professional and pushed himself very hard but at times he was a bit of a lad. That was his personality. He could have a joke but when it came to playing he took it very seriously. He reminds me of another young Redan player who is doing great things in the AFL now: Isaac Smith."
Mr Northey wrote a eulogy on his own website www.swoopercoach.com.au. In it he mentioned the respect with which Walsh was held.
"We are all feeling very upset about the terrible news of our mate Walshie," it said.
“Phil Walsh came from Hamilton and went to University at Ballarat where he was recruited by the Redan Football Club.
"He played a few games on the wing but mostly out of the back pocket (a dashing defender). In the Grand Final we were beaten by Golden Point and Walshie was our best player.”
Ian Pym, a former teammate, said Walsh's death would be felt at the 40th anniversary celebrations of Redan's 1975 premiership which will be held at the St Patrick's College Pavilion on July 25. He said many of the players from that side would have played alongside Walsh in 1980 and 1981.
Mr Walsh, originally from Hamilton, was a former student of Ballarat College of Advanced Education (now Federation Uni), graduating with a Bachelor of Education (Physical Education).
“On behalf of the university, our condolences go out to Mr Walsh’s family, friends and the Adelaide Football Club,” Fed Uni vice-chancellor Professor David Battersby said. “We were very proud of Phil’s success following his studies here.”
Mr Walsh’s son has been charged with murder.