Gary Cole has had an immense impact on Australian football during a playing, coaching, mentoring and administrative career that has seen him occupy roles at all levels of the game.
His passion for the game and driving it forward with a pure agenda of what is in the best interests of the game is second to none. He has a 100% inclusive mindset and an ability to adapt to any level, situation or person he is dealing with. His relationships with all stakeholders in the game and his reputation is testament to that.
Gary played in Victoria with South Yarra, Ringwood City Wilhelmina and Fitzroy United Alexander before playing in the inaugural season of the NSL then a decade long career at the highest level with Heidelberg United and Preston Makedonia, amassing 247 appearances (109 goals)
He also made 40 appearances (21 goals) for the Socceroos, 19 of which were A internationals, with 17 goals including a world record for goals scored, at the time, in a World Cup qualifying match when he nabbed 7 against Fiji in 1981.
His coaching journey began at the Australian Institute of Sport as Assistant to Dr Ron Smith and also included a stint as Assistant Socceroos Coach to Frank Arok. On moving back to Melbourne, he coached in the NSL with his much-loved Heidelberg and went on to coach and win championships with Altona Magic and Bulleen in the Victorian Premier League.
Gary also enjoyed great success as a football administrator at the top level of professional football in Australia, occupying the role of Director of Football for both Melbourne Victory FC & Sydney FC – the A-League’s two biggest clubs and at Football Victoria as Executive Manager Facilities & Advocacy. We delve into his time helping to set up Victory and the importance of people, relationships and culture.
This conversation covers a wide range of topics and Gary is very honest in talking about his thoughts on coaching and coach education, as well as players learning new techniques and behaviours through both coaching and the game being the teacher. The conversation also covers the importance of resilience for coaches and his personal fight with Lymphoma.
Please join one other football legend, Heather Garriock, in sharing Gary Cole’s Football Coaching Life.