Ron Barassi Obituary and Cause of Death, What Happened to Ron Barassi? How did Ron Barassi Die? Who was Ron Barassi?

Who was Ron Barassi?

Ron Barassi, whose full name was Ronald Dale Barassi, was a prominent Australian rules footballer, coach, and media personality. He is considered one of the most significant figures in the history of Australian rules football, and his impact on the sport transcends his playing and coaching career. Barassi’s life and achievements are deeply intertwined with the evolution and success of Australian rules football.

During his playing career, Barassi made significant contributions to the sport. He pioneered the ruck rover position, playing for Melbourne and winning six premierships, two of which he captained. In 1964, Barassi made a bold move by leaving Melbourne to join Carlton, lured by a lucrative contract. His influence on the game continued as a player, but his transition to coaching would solidify his legacy.

Retiring as a player in 1969, Barassi became a highly successful coach. He led Carlton to two premierships, including a memorable grand final comeback in 1970, which is still remembered as “the birth of modern football.” His famous halftime instruction to his players to play on from marks and handball at all costs revolutionized the game.

After retiring from professional football in 1971, Barassi was later enticed back to coaching, this time with North Melbourne, where he achieved further success, winning the club’s first two premierships. He also returned to Melbourne and took on a critical role in rebuilding the club. An innovative move during this time was his introduction of the “Irish experiment,” recruiting Gaelic footballers into Australian rules, which added a new dimension to the sport.


Ron Barassi




Australian rules footballer, coach, and media personality

Date of Birth

27 February 1936

Place of Birth

Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia

Date of Death

16 September 2023

Age at Death


Place of Death

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Original Team(s)

Preston Scouts


179 cm (5 ft 10 in)


87 kg (192 lb)



Marital Status




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Ron Barassi Obituary and Cause of Death

Ron Barassi, the legendary figure in Australian rules football, has passed away at the age of 87, leaving the entire football world in mourning. His family confirmed his passing, attributing it to complications arising from a fall. Barassi’s passing marks the end of a life filled with remarkable achievements and contributions to the sport he loved dearly.

Despite the sorrow felt by fans and admirers, it is worth celebrating Barassi’s enduring legacy. He was not only a six-time premiership player for Melbourne and a four-time premiership coach but also a symbol of determination, innovation, and passion in Australian rules football. His impact on the game and his enduring memory will continue to inspire generations of athletes and fans alike.

Barassi’s coaching career was marked by innovation, success, and a passion for the game. His advocacy for the establishment of a national club-level competition showcased his commitment to the sport’s growth. He was not only a sporting icon but also a popular cultural figure in Australia.

In recognition of his contributions, Barassi was named a Member of the Order of Australia in 1978 and was selected in the AFL’s Team of the Century as a ruck-rover in 1996. His legacy as a player, coach, and advocate for Australian rules football remains indelible, and he will always be remembered as a true legend of the sport.


Ron Barassi Family

Ron Barassi’s family history and heritage played a significant role in shaping his life and identity. He was the only child of Ron Barassi, Sr., who was a notable figure in Australian rules football. His father’s involvement with the Melbourne Football Club in the VFL (Victorian Football League) was a pivotal influence on young Ron’s early connection to the sport.

Ron Barassi, Sr. was a pugnacious rover for Melbourne and even played as a reserve in the Demons’ premiership-winning team in 1940. However, his service in the army during World War II took him away from the sport. This early exposure to football through his father’s experiences fueled Ron Barassi’s passion for the game.

Furthermore, Ron Barassi’s family background added another layer of cultural diversity to his identity. He was a third-generation Italian Australian, with Swiss-Italian ancestors who had migrated to Victoria during the gold rushes of the 1850s and 1860s. These ancestors settled in areas such as Guildford, Castlemaine, and Daylesford, contributing to the rich tapestry of Australian multiculturalism.

One of the defining aspects of Barassi’s early life was the tragic loss of his father, Ron Barassi Sr., during World War II at Tobruk when Barassi was just five years old. Ron Sr. was a player for the Melbourne Football Club, and young Barassi was determined to follow in his father’s footsteps.

This determination led to the introduction of the father–son rule in Australian rules football, a rule that is still in use by the AFL today. He went on to live with Norm Smith, who was Melbourne’s coach at the time and a former teammate of his father, providing him with a mentor and support system.

Ron Barassi Wife and Children

Ron Barassi’s personal life was marked by significant relationships and the joys of family. On March 4, 1957, he married Nancy Kellett, a woman he had met at work four years earlier. They chose to settle in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, specifically in Heathmont, where they began building their family together. Ron and Nancy Barassi were blessed with three children during their marriage. Their children are Susan, born on July 29, 1960, Ron Jr., born on June 23, 1962 and Richard, born on February 13, 1964.

The Barassi family shared many moments together as Ron Sr. pursued his illustrious career in Australian rules football, both as a player and coach. However, their marriage faced challenges, and they eventually separated in 1975. In 1981, Ron Barassi embarked on a new chapter in his personal life when he married Cherryl Copeland. This marked a significant change in his personal circumstances, and together, they navigated the complexities of his career and life in the public eye.

While Ron Barassi’s contributions to Australian rules football are celebrated, it’s also important to acknowledge the personal aspects of his life, including his marriages and the bonds he shared with his children, which undoubtedly played a role in shaping his experiences and perspectives both on and off the football field.

Ron Barassi Career

Ron Barassi’s career in Australian rules football is nothing short of legendary, marked by his exceptional contributions as a player and coach at various clubs.

Early Years and Melbourne

Barassi’s journey began with a unique twist of fate. After the death of his father during World War II, Melbourne Football Club rallied to support his family. However, the zoning system at the time dictated that Barassi could only play for either Collingwood or Carlton, which created a dilemma for the young aspiring footballer.

Melbourne successfully lobbied for the creation of the father–son rule, allowing clubs preferential access to the sons of past players. Barassi became one of the first players signed under this new rule, joining Melbourne from Preston Scouts in 1952. Living with Melbourne’s legendary coach, Norm Smith, played a pivotal role in his development.

Melbourne Years

Under Norm Smith’s guidance, Barassi quickly matured as a footballer. Initially uncertain about his best position, he was played as a second ruckman in 1954, eventually leading to the coining of the term “ruck-rover.” Barassi’s leadership qualities emerged, and he was appointed vice-captain in 1957 and captain three years later.

During this period, Melbourne was a dominant force, winning three successive premierships from 1955 to 1957. Barassi’s memorable image breaking a tackle in the 1957 Grand Final is etched in football history.

Carlton Years

In 1965, Barassi faced a pivotal decision as Carlton made a lucrative offer for him to become captain-coach. He accepted, and his coaching tenure at Carlton began, leading the club from its lowest-ever VFL finish to premiers in just four years.

Barassi’s coaching style emphasized discipline, teamwork, and a tough brand of football. His most famous moment as a coach came in the 1970 Grand Final, where Carlton staged an epic comeback against Collingwood, a game that remains an iconic part of football history.

North Melbourne Years

Barassi returned to coaching in 1973, this time with North Melbourne. With astute recruitment and a disciplined training regime, he turned the club’s fortunes around. In 1975, North Melbourne clinched the premiership. Barassi’s tactical prowess was evident in the 1977 grand final, where he made significant positional changes that led North Melbourne to victory after a drawn game.

Return to Melbourne

In 1981, Barassi returned to Melbourne, this time to assist the under-19s and lay the groundwork for a revitalized Melbourne side. He initiated the “Irish experiment,” recruiting Gaelic footballers and converting them to Australian rules players, including the legendary Jim Stynes.

Sydney Years

Barassi’s career came full circle when he took on the coaching role for the Sydney Swans in 1993. His tenure raised the profile of Australian rules football in a rugby league-dominated city, showcasing his influence both on and off the field.

Throughout his career, Ron Barassi’s impact on the sport extended beyond the game itself. He revolutionized playing positions, instilled discipline, and left an enduring legacy that continues to shape Australian rules football. His name will forever be synonymous with the essence and evolution of the sport.

Ron Barassi’s Life After Retirement

Ron Barassi’s life after retirement from coaching was marked by his enduring presence as a prominent Australian rules football celebrity and a cultural icon. He continued to make significant contributions to the sport and was involved in various activities that reflected his passion for Australian rules football and his broader interests.

One of the most notable recognitions of his post-retirement career was his induction into the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 1996, where he received the prestigious “Legend” status, signifying his exceptional impact on the sport. Additionally, he holds the distinction of being one of the very few Australian rules footballers inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, alongside Leigh Matthews and Ted Whitten.

Barassi was deeply committed to grassroots football development and was an advocate for the growth of the sport internationally, with a particular focus on South Africa. He lent his name to the Barassi International Australian Football Youth Tournament, emphasizing his dedication to fostering the sport’s global reach. Beyond his involvement in football, Barassi was known for his support of Australia becoming a republic, showcasing his engagement with broader societal issues.

One of the memorable moments in his post-retirement years came during the Queen’s Baton Relay for the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. He participated as one of the last runners in the relay, with a unique twist that involved him walking on a submerged pontoon in the Yarra River, creating the illusion of “walking on water.” Barassi’s name is also associated with the concept of the “Barassi Line,” a term describing the geographical divide in Australia between Australian rules football and the two rugby codes. He attended the unveiling of a plaque commemorating the Barassi Line in 2014.

His influence extended to the arts as well, with his involvement in Robert Helpmann’s 1964 ballet, “The Display,” where he coached male dancers in Australian rules football sequences. Barassi also wrote the introduction to Philip Hodgins’ poetry collection, “A Kick of the Footy.”He was referenced in various forms of popular culture, including music, literature, and television. His collaboration with singer-songwriter Tex Perkins on the song “One Minute’s Silence” in 2015 paid tribute to the diggers who died at Gallipoli.

In addition to his cultural impact, Barassi’s legacy in football was further solidified through his football clinics on television and the launch of his popular “Ron Barassi” footy boots during the 1960s.Throughout his post-retirement years, Barassi remained a respected figure in the football world and beyond, leaving an indelible mark on Australian rules football and the broader Australian cultural landscape. His enduring influence continues to be celebrated by fans and admirers of the sport.

Ron Barassi Achievements

Ron Barassi’s illustrious career in Australian rules football is adorned with a multitude of remarkable achievements, both as a player and coach, solidifying his status as a true legend of the sport.

Club Achievements

  • Barassi’s playing career was adorned with an impressive six VFL (Victorian Football League) premierships, achieved with the Melbourne Football Club in the years 1955, 1956, 1957, 1959, 1960, and 1964.
  • He earned the prestigious Keith ‘Bluey’ Truscott Medal twice, in 1961 and 1964, underscoring his excellence on the field.
  • Demonstrating his versatility, Barassi was Melbourne’s leading goalkicker in 1958 and 1959, showcasing his ability to contribute in multiple facets of the game.
  • Barassi served as Melbourne’s captain from 1960 to 1964, highlighting his leadership and influence within the club.
  • His outstanding contributions to Melbourne earned him the status of a Legend in the Melbourne Hall of Fame.

Representative Achievements

  • On the representative stage, Barassi excelled, contributing to two National Football Carnival Championship victories in 1956 and 1958.
  • His exceptional skills and contributions were recognized with three All-Australian team selections in 1956, 1958, and 1961.
  • Barassi had the honor of captaining Victoria in representative matches, further showcasing his leadership qualities.

Overall Achievements

  • His impact on the sport extended beyond his playing days. He was named as a rover in the AFL Team of the Century, a testament to his enduring legacy as one of the greatest players in the history of Australian rules football.
  • Barassi was rightfully inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame as a Legend, solidifying his place among the sport’s most iconic figures.
  • His contributions to Australian sport were also recognized with his induction into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, a testament to his lasting impact on the nation’s sporting landscape.

Coaching Achievements

  • Barassi’s coaching career was equally illustrious, with four VFL premierships achieved as a coach in 1968, 1970, 1975, and 1977.
  • He was honored with the AFLCA Coaching Legend Award in 2010, a reflection of his profound influence on coaching methods and strategies in the sport.
  • Additionally, he was recognized in the VFL/AFL Italian Team of the Century, highlighting his Italian heritage and the contributions of Italian Australians to the sport.

In summary, Ron Barassi’s achievements in Australian rules football are a testament to his exceptional talent as a player, his pioneering coaching methods, and his enduring legacy in the sport’s history. His status as a legend in multiple Hall of Fames and his numerous accolades underline his lasting impact on Australian rules football and its rich heritage.

Ron Barassi Net Worth

Ron Barassi’s net worth is approximately $3 million. Ron Barassi’s primary source of income during his active years in Australian rules football was his professional career as a player and coach in the Victorian Football League (VFL), which is now known as the Australian Football League (AFL). As a player, he likely earned a salary from the Melbourne Football Club and later from Carlton, where he played and later coached. His coaching roles also provided him with income from the respective clubs he worked for, including Carlton, North Melbourne, and Melbourne.

In addition to his earnings from football, Barassi may have derived income from various endorsements, sponsorships, and appearances as a prominent figure in the sport. His celebrity status made him a sought-after personality for promotional and public appearances, which could have contributed to his income.

Ron Barassi Net Worth   


Ron Barassi

Net Worth

$3 million


Football Legend

Ron Barassi Age

Ron Barassi died at the age of 87. His journey from a young aspiring footballer to becoming one of the most celebrated players and coaches in Australian rules football history is nothing short of inspirational. Barassi’s dedication, leadership, and innovative coaching methods have left an indelible mark on the sport, serving as a source of inspiration for future generations of players and coaches. His enduring legacy continues to inspire those who are passionate about Australian rules football and its rich history.

What Happened to Ron Barassi?

Ron Barassi, the legendary figure in Australian rules football, passed away. His death marks the end of an era in the footy world. Barassi, celebrated as a six-time premiership player for Melbourne and a four-time premiership coach, leaves behind a legacy that will forever be etched in the annals of the sport’s history.

With a remarkable career spanning over decades, he played 204 senior games for Melbourne and an additional 50 for Carlton, leaving an indelible mark on both clubs and the entire Australian rules football community. His contributions to the game will be remembered and cherished by fans and admirers across the nation.

How did Ron Barassi Die?

Ron Barassi passed away at the age of due to complications arising from a fall, as confirmed by a statement from his family. The specifics of the fall and the resulting complications were not detailed in the statement. However, it is noted that he peacefully departed while being surrounded by his loving family. At this time, the family has requested privacy as they mourn the loss of the Australian rules football legend.

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