McKinnon Prize 2019 Selection Panel

Kevin Sheedy AO

As a player, coach and ambassador, Kevin Sheedy has had one of the most successful careers in Australian sporting history.

But there is more to Kevin Sheedy than football. He is a marketer, a thinker, an innovator, the holder of awards for community service and an inspirational speaker, capable of talking about subjects way beyond the boundaries of sport.


Australian Football

  • Prahran – VFA premiership in 1966
  • Richmond – 251 VFL games, 91 goals, three premierships
  • Essendon – Coached 634 VFL/AFL games, four flags
  • All-Australian coach in 1984/85/93, 2000
  • State of Origin – Coach in 1984/85
  • Greater Western Sydney – Giants’ inaugural coach
  • Australia – Toured Ireland in 1967, coached successful International Rules teams in 2005/06
  • Life Memberships – Prahran, Richmond, Essendon, GWS, AFL. Sheedy Medal – Awarded to GWS Best and Fairest.


  • Richmond – Played First Xl cricket as a leg-spinner

Honours and achievements

  • 2000 – Australian Sports Medal, Australian Sports Commission coach of the year
  • 2008 – AFL Ambassador for the 150 Years Celebration of Australian football, inducted into the AFL Hall of Game
  • 2009 – Inducted into Sports Australia Hall of Fame.

Corporate and community work

  • Established AFL SportReady, a national not-for-profit company that has facilitated employment and education opportunities for more than 14,000 young Australians, including 2,000 Aboriginal and Torres Street Islanders
  • Ambassador for the Bravery Trust which provides financial support to veterans, current and former members of the Australian Defence Force, and their families, who have suffered injury or illness as a result of their service and are experiencing financial hardship
  • A qualified plumber Kevin is an Australian Apprenticeships Ambassador for the Australian Government.

Publications and public speaking

  • Kevin Sheedy is the author or co-author of eight books, including the magnum opus The 500 Club, regarded as one of the best books ever written about Australian sport, and his best-selling memoir, Stand Your Ground, published by Pan MacMillan in 2008.
  • Kevin’s most famous footballing speech came in the 1993 preliminary final when Essendon overcame a 42-point deficit at half-time to beat Adelaide. Kevin is equally inspirational beyond the boundaries of sport, helping major corporations with team-building and entertaining as an after-dinner speaker at sports nights.

Honours and awards

  • 1998 – Order of Australia
  • 2001 – Centenary Medal
  • 2003 – National Service Medal
  • 2008 – Australian Thinker of the Year, State Finalist Senior Australian of the Year
  • 2009 – Honorary Doctorate from The Australian Catholic University
  • 2013 – Honorary Doctorate from the University of Western Sydney
  • 2014 – Presided the David Parkin Oration for Sport and Social Change at Deakin University
  • 2016 – Ambassador for the Patrick Cronin Foundation