In the fifth of a series of articles on the finalists in the 2023 Hostplus SANFL Volunteer of the Year Award, we find out more about Heath DeBoo and his commitment to the Willunga Football Club.
By JORDAN ROUTLEY
If being publican at the much-loved Willunga Hotel wasn’t enough to make Heath DeBoo the most popular man in town, then serving as a crucial volunteer at the Willunga Football Club certainly has.
Heath has been associated with the club since he joined as a junior at age six and has volunteered for 14 years after returning from a 10-year hiatus in Robe.
For Heath, football is very much a family affair that has spanned generations.
“In my younger days I was there with my family through my journey as a senior footballer and now I’m back there with my own children,” Heath said.
He is the club’s Vice-President, its delegate to the Great Southern Football League, Auskick Coordinator and has at one point or another coached almost every junior team.
His influence as coach has been cited as a key reason why Willunga has not missed the finals in any grade for four years.
Despite his obvious success as a coach, Heath is committed to Willunga and his current duties with the club.
“Definitely helping out as coach has been very rewarding, but I suppose with my commitments at this stage I’m not really chasing the next level of coaching.”
Now working as Vice-President, Heath is focused on continuing to build the junior program that is the foundation of the club’s success.
“We are driving from the grassroots and our breeding ground of junior footy which gives us a stable base to develop players through to senior footy.”
Hostplus Volunteer of the Year Finalist - Heath DeBoo
“It is nice to be part of a footy club that I’ve been involved with for a massive part of my life.''
Heath’s dedication to the club is built upon a selfless attitude that sees him offer to help whenever he can.
“Really it is just about getting stuff done for the greater good of the club and the community,” he said.
“It is nice to be part of a footy club that I’ve been involved with for a massive part of my life.”
One of Heath’s lasting legacies at the club is his role in building female football, having coached many of the junior girls teams and now serving as the Willunga Football Club female program delegate.
“Women’s football, as we know, is a fairly new commodity and it’s something we’re trying to drive at the club,” Heath noted.
The results speak for themselves, with Willunga’s female U17 and A-grade teams winning the last three premierships.
Next year the Willunga Football Club will celebrate its 150th anniversary, with big plans in store to mark the occasion.
“It is something we’re going to drive pretty hard, as one of the execs of the footy club, we want to make the most out of our 150th celebration.”
Heath is one of five finalists for the 2023 Hostplus SANFL Volunteer of the Year Award, with the winner to be announced at the annual SANFL Community Volunteers Awards night at Adelaide Oval on November 3.
Sign up to see all the news from around the SANFL each week – directly in your inbox!