By Phoebe Keogh
West Juniors coach Keith Wallis OAM will coach his 900th game for the club this weekend.
Known as “Happy” to the football community, he started his cfootball journey in the Western Districts as a junior.
Part of the well known Wallis football family, he is an AFLQ Hall of Fame member along with one of his brothers, Noel.
Wallis has coached for the West Juniors since 1970 and his two sons have also played with the club. As juniors both of them played over 225 games and are now coaches.
Wallis is currently coaching the Under 11s on a Saturday and Under 13s on a Sunday and averages 32 games a year.
Last year he coached the Under 12s West Juniors to a Premiership team in AFL Brisbane Juniors League.
A forbearer in Queensland coaching, Wallis was one of the first to be accredited as a Level III coach in 1985 which is indicative of high performance.
In 1993 he was honored with an Order of Australia medal for services to Australian football coaching and was further recognized in 2000 for his excellence in the Australian sports community with the Australian Sports Medal.
Along with his commitment to the West Juniors club, he has also successfully ran the Summer Skills Clinic for 36 years at the University of Queensland, where he completed this Graduate Diploma in Sports Coaching.
AFL Queensland has honoured him by naming the U18 division 1 best and fairest medal, the Keith Wallis Medal.
West Juniors President, Ian Selth was full of praise for Keith’s contribution to the game.
“He is an icon of junior football in Queensland and continues to serve the code,” he said.
Wallis has coached teams over 4 generations and from his experiences has the philosophy that kids in this generation are the same to the last.
“There is no generation change in the kids of today to the kids of yesterday. They used cricket bats and tennis racquets, their toys were just different, and kids today are more hardwired.”
“Kids are kids and if you provide them a fun environment you will get the best out of them.”
He said that in juniors coaching that focusing on the process is more important than outcome.
“You cannot be outcome oriented with children, you have to process orientate them, kids relate to the process.”
“I pride myself on the fact that there are a broad spectrum of men who call me coach and are now in their trade and I can trace that success to the football field, he tried hard and I could see the success.”
West Juniors club look forward to celebrating this milestone with Wallis tomorrow, Saturday the 14th of June.