Outgoing Chairman Dean Philpots has been inducted as a Life Member of the Northern Football Netball League.
Philpots became the league’s 43rd Life Member when he received the honour at the 2017 Annual General Meeting.
Philpots joined the league’s Board of Directors in 2007, following the disbanding of the former Diamond Valley Football League.
The former Eltham President was one of seven members of the inaugural Board of the Northern Football League, along with Frank Rosbrook (Chairman), John Anderson (Deputy Chairman), Gary Green, Jeff Parkes, Tony Topp and Robert Young.
Philpots served as the league’s Junior Chairman from 2008-2012, before taking over as Chairman in 2013. He held the position until announcing his decision to stand down from the Board at last week’s AGM.
He said he was honoured to receive Life Membership, despite being surprised by his induction.
“It is a nice reward at the end and I’m very appreciative of it,” Philpots said.
“You don’t the job to get rewards, you do it because you think you can make a difference.
“I think it’s one of those things I’ll appreciate more in years to come.”
Reflecting on his time as a Board Director, Philpots said the enhancements made to the tribunal and umpiring department and the rapid growth in female participation were among the achievements he was most proud of during his 11 seasons with the league.
“The first year we went kind of blind through because the first year it was really just set up the way the Diamond Valley (Football League) was.
“I think after the first year we highlighted two things. One was the tribunal and the other was umpiring. I think early on they were the areas we realised we had to get better and early on that is what we put a lot of resources into.
“When the filming program came in, that was one of the initiatives that worked well to improve our umpires and the tribunal process.
“Once those areas were under control it was the juniors that we needed to address…that’s when grading came in and that made a major change.
“Once the junior program was overhauled we focused heavily on women and inclusion.
“Using the motto ‘Communities Working Together’ we saw the introduction of netball and we invested heavily in junior girls football and we are reaping the rewards of that now with strong girls competitions and senior women’s football.
“A lot of the challenges I had set out to achieve had been done so it was time for me to do something else.”
Despite stepping away from the Board, Philpots said he would remain an active follower of the NFNL.
“I’ll be happy to just go back to watching local football and just be a face in the crowd and not worry too much about what is going on around me,” he said.
“I’ll appreciate it a little bit more and hopefully see a few more games.
“It will probably take a while to get used to being just another person in the crowd and not having my finger on the pulse.
“It will be interesting going to a game and not knowing everything that is going in the background.”
NFNL chief executive Peter McDougall paid tribute to Philpots’ contribution to the league.
“Dean has given outstanding service to the league over the past 11 years,” McDougall said.
“Receiving Life Membership is appropriate recognition and well deserved for his hard work and dedication to the league over a sustained period of time.”
Vice-Chairman Michael McLellan will assume the Chairman position until February’s Board meeting, where the Board of Directors will vote on the league’s new Chairman.