Ronald Barassi is a legend for many reasons; talented football player, revolutionary coach, enduring media personality. For more than fifty years he has been one of the most influential people in the game, and the shadow he casts is matched by few.
To ensure he played with the Demons, Melbourne went to the VFL and successfully lobbied for a Father-Son rule. When the time came for Barassi to be signed up, Melbourne picked him up from Preston Scouts in 1952 and he became only the second player under the new rule.
Barassi soon proved himself as an inspirational footballer, and was quickly handed leadership responsibilities. In 1957 he was appointed vice-captain and a captain three years later. In a period of unparalleled success, Barassi helped Melbourne win six premierships – two as captain, two as vice-captain, and winning the team’s best and fairest award in 1961 and 1964.
Footballers are often branded heroes or villains according to their team colours but Ron Barassi is loved and respected by all. He has truly become the father of the modern game, and will always be remembered as one of the all time greats. Unsurprisingly, he’s still on the speed dial for every major football organisation as his opinions and experience are highly valued and always in demand.
Barassi now occupies himself with a wide variety of business, philanthropic, media and personal interests, which includes a prolific public-speaking career and an on-air role at 3AW. He is an ambassador for the Worksafe/Victorian Country Football League and the public face of Legacy.
To mark his 70th birthday anniversary Ron walked the Kokoda Track.
Only months ago, aged nearly 73, when he saw a woman being attacked in the street, he unhesitatingly tackled her 26 year old assailant. This act of bravery earned Barassi the vote as Chivas Regal Most Chivalrous Victorian (3rd most chivalrous Australian). He was also dubbed Knight of The Order of St Thomas of Acre.