Brian Coleman’s Japanese Tracksuit Tops now in the Hawks Museum

The Hawks Museum Staff was delighted when Brian Coleman rang to make an appointment to visit the museum, adding that he would like to donate the tracksuit tops worn at the end of season VFL Exhibition Matches held in Japan in 1986 and 1987. Coleman was one of the major guiding lights of the Club’s successful eras known to all as the Golden Eighties.

It was fascinating to listen to Brian’s stories as he wandered through the museum stopping at certain exhibits to explain more. He was particularly taken with the Hall of Fame Inductees Wall, reminiscing about Jack Hale, his senior coach and Brian Kann, his captain in the 1959 Reserves Premiership. This was followed by the exhibit for the Reserves Premierships. Pointing to fellow teammate, Norm Maginness, Brian explained that he was the father of Scott Maginness who played in the 1988 and 1989 premierships. Spotting his coach, Tubby Edmonds in the team photo, he emphasised the influence that Edmonds’ training drills had when Brian later took on the coaching role.

Next stop was the cabinet that pays tribute to the Senior Premierships. Brian delighted in telling tales of Dipper, Dermi, Platts and Bucky, plus Bob ‘Yoey’ Yeoman, the infamous trainer to name a few. At the Best & Fairest Cabinet, Brian proudly extolled the attributes that set Leigh Matthews, Sam Mitchell, Jason Dunstall and Graham Arthur apart from other players. He then chuckled whilst reminiscing about many of the former teammates he saw on the Team Photo wall, the likes of Ian Law, Brendan Edwards and John Peck. Moving onto the Cheer Squad Cabinet, he spotted the home made guernsey on display. Brian related an intriguing story on how his mother had knitted Hawthorn guernseys for John Peck’s daughters.

Brian was full of praise for the museum’s efforts in telling the Hawthorn Story as he presented the tracksuit tops he wore when Hawthorn played end of season matches in Japan in 1986 and 1987. For the record, the Hawks won both games. In 1986 the Hawks, 22.17.149 defeated Carlton 13.18.96 at Yohahama Stadium, Tokyo. In 1987 the Hawks, 20.14.134 were victorious again, this time defeating Essendon, 11.9.75.

Of interest to future visitors to the museum, the two, very large, ornate cups the Hawks won in Japan are on display in the Trophy Cabinet. Medallions presented to the players are also on display.

Brian Coleman presents his Tracksuit Tops worn during the End of Season VFL Exhibition Matches in Japan, 1986 and 1987 to the Hawks Museum

The Brian Coleman Story

Brian, who was inducted into the HFC Hall of Fame in 2009, has an enviable record of one who worked tirelessly behind the scenes for over 45 years, being involved in 14 premierships.

First as a player, he gained distinction playing as a rover in the Hawks’ Second 18 Premiership in 1959. Upon retiring, Coleman enjoyed a number of successful seasons coaching East Malvern, Canterbury and Springvale before being invited back to Hawthorn to coach the Under 19s in 1969. He coached the under 19’s for nine years, winning the only premiership for the Club at this level in 1972.

He then served as Team Manager for the 2nd 18 for two years before being appointed to the Match Committee in 1980. With this valuable grounding, Coleman became the Chairman of Selectors in 1983, serving in that role until 1995. With his renowned quiet demeanour yet strong determination, he became one of the most influential and successful Chairman of Selectors in the Club’s history, enjoying very strong working relationships with coaches Alan Jeans, Allan Joyce and Peter Knights. He achieved the remarkable legacy of five day and five night premierships in the Hawks’ golden era from 1982 to 1994 - 13 consecutive finals appearances, an AFL record.

Coleman’s loyalty to the Hawks saw him serve as President for one year, 1996. This was an unrewarding task, but Coleman displayed a great sense of dignity, enabling the Club to re-group and move forward, thus avoiding the proposed merge with Melbourne. In later years he continued to serve Hawthorn as a selector with the newly aligned Box Hill Hawks, gaining more success when they won their first premiership in 2001.

Born: May 28, 1935
Recruited: Camberwell FC
Played: 1956
Debut Order: 496
First game: Round 5, 1959
Last game: Round 12, 1959
Guernsey: 35
Games: 6, Goals: 5
Premiership Reserves: 1959
Coach Under 19’s: 1969 - 1977
Premiers: 1972
Reserve 18 Team Manager: 1978 - 1979
Match Committee: 1980 - 1995
Chairman of Selectors: 1983 - 1995
Premierships: 1983, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991
Night Premierships: 1985, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1992
Reserves Premiership: 1985
Director: 1982 - 1996
Vice President: 1987 - 1995
President: 1996
Box Hill Chairman of Selectors: 2000 - 2003
Premiership: 2001
Life Member: 1975
Hall of Fame Inductee: 2009

VFL / AFL Honours
Jack Titus Award Services to Football 2004
VFL Life Member

Author: Peter Haby, Hawks Museum Curator

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