Oval named after La Trobe alumnus and sporting legend

The newly-named oval is part of La Trobe’s $150 million Sports Park development – a key component of the University’s ambitious $5 billion University City of the Future plan to transform Melbourne’s north.

La Trobe University has named its new, state-of-the-art Australian Rules Football oval after a man who has given 52 years of service to sport.

The oval is now known as the Tony Sheehan Oval, in honour of the Bachelor of Economics (1971) alumnus, Distinguished Alumni Award recipient (2010), and member of the University’s commencing student cohort.

The announcement was officially made on Wednesday 13 March, at the formal opening of La Trobe’s new Sports Park Pavilion.

Mr Sheehan is a founding member of the La Trobe University Football Club (LTUFC), first donning the black and red jersey in 1967.

He was the 1973 Captain Coach of the All Australian Intervarsity Team, 1976 Premiership Captain Coach of the LTUFC, Captain Coach of the 1970’s Team of the Decade, and Playing Coach of the Team of the Half Century.

Mr Sheehan, who is the games record holder for the LTUFC, having played 321 senior games, said the oval dedication was humbling.

'Sport at La Trobe has provided thousands of students with opportunities for athletic excellence, leadership, development of personal and professional skills and, life-long friendships. Many of our most outstanding graduates attribute much of their success to lessons learnt on the playing fields of La Trobe,' Mr Sheehan said.

'This honour belongs to all of those who have contributed so much to sport at La Trobe. Particularly those who wore the red and black stripes of the LTUFC and with whom I share decades of friendship and hundreds of games of collective endeavour.'

Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) and Director of La Trobe Sport, Professor Russ Hoye, thanked Mr Sheehan for his ongoing support of sporting excellence at the University.

'As the University enters a new era, it’s important to recognise our history, so it’s fitting that the oval be named in recognition of such a prominent University alumnus,' Professor Hoye said.

'I have only come to know Tony over the last four years, but in that time, I have developed an enormous amount of respect for his dedication to the University and his beloved La Trobe University Football Club,' Professor Hoye said.

The naming of Tony Sheehan Oval follows the University's tradition of recognising the contributions of outstanding members of the La Trobe community through its infrastructure.

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