Greg Jones

In 1977, while playing in the first of three football premierships with Northcote Park, Greg became a father for the first time. His son, Lachlan, was born with Cerebral Palsy quadriplegia and very limited vision. Lachlan never let his disabilities hinder his sporting dreams; he won gold in the 100-metre wheelchair event at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games at the age of 19. Lachlan retired in 2008 with five world records in his classification of T33 and an OAM for his outstanding achievements. He was the only legally blind wheelchair athlete in the world who also has Autism and chronic epilepsy.

Greg continued playing football, then gravitated to coaching, receiving Coach of the Year in the Diamond Valley in 1985 before he joined the VFL as a recruiting manager, and then coaching coordinator with David Parkin at Fitzroy. He returned to coaching at Greensborough, winning the premiership in 1988, before going on an extraordinary journey of coaching Lachlan through to the Paralympics in Atlanta and beyond.

In 2000, Greg wrote about his journey as the father of a son with disabilities called Walk a Crooked Mile. It quickly became a bestseller. He was awarded the prestigious Australian Sports Medal from the Prime Minister on behalf of the Queen for excellence in international coaching of elite athletes. Greg developed and coached some 15 gold medallists and world record holders as head coach of the Australian Team for Athletes with Cerebral Palsy at all world championships from 1997 to 2005 and as a track and field coach and WADA (drug control) officer with the Australian Paralympic Team from 1996 to 2008. He also represented Athletes on the Australian Sport Commission.

Greg has been a vigilant advocate for many people with disabilities and represented them in court, from VCAT through to the Federal Court, on matters ranging from discrimination to sports participation and social inclusion.