top of page

Nashville Kangaroos 25th Silver Anniversary Part III

Celebrating 1997-2022

In the previous segments we took a look at how the club has done overall in its 25 years as a whole and against different clubs from around the league and then a focus on individual achievements over the years. Now we will look back at how much it takes to run a club off the field, so that everyone else can “just play footy”. And at the end, the final batch of names for the Anniversary teams. We will reveal the teams officially this weekend at the 25th Anniversary Match.

Club Founders

Let’s begin. The Kangaroos were founded in 1997 thanks to a small group of visionaries whose love of footy can’t be questioned although I am rather sure they could not have imagined how the club actually turned out after 25 years! You may recognize a few of these names from their playing days as well, however, it is important to have support staff who aren’t players. This theme will be repeated throughout these recognitions.


Peter Beare Adam Carter Lorelei Cunningham Marcus Dripps John Nelson Kelly Noser

Club Presidents

The Club is run by a Board of Directors, each of whom is elected by the membership every year. The board members then select one of themselves to fill each role (legally required) of President, Secretary, and Treasurer. The President has the ultimate responsibility to ensure that everything gets done so that the club can continue to move forward and that the teams get to play. In other words, with the President, “The Buck Stops Here”. Many have filled the role over the years, and we thank them all for their service.

Club Presidents & Years

Peter Beare 1998-2000 Shane Clohesy 2001-2003 Grant White 2004-2006 Jeff Persson 2007-2011 Clint Milner 2012-2013 David Harris 2014-2016 Jeff Persson 2017 Tim Dunn 2018-2020 Steve Van de Kamp 2021 Logan Monday 2022

Head Coach

No team is complete without a coach. As with the president position, all decisions fall on the shoulders of one person. That person may have a lot of help (i.e. a football committee) but it isn’t all fun and games. Hard decisions have to be made from time to time. And over the years this role has been filled by many. The most games won by a head coach goes to the inaugural Head Coach John Nelson (32-26), followed closely by Grant White whose winning percentage is impressive (29-11). One of the few non-playing coaches comes in third place, Marty Thompson whose clubs went 27-19. And the other coach with 20+ wins is Clint Milner who guided the Roos to a 21-8 record. The highest American born head coach Bo Link (who also made the Revolution team as a player) is in fifth place with an impressive 16-10. Here are all the coaches for the 25 years.

Coach - Record & Years

John Nelson 32-26 1997-2001 Grant White 29-11 2002-2003, 2006 Marty Thompson 27-19 2007-2010 Clint Milner 21-8 2012-2013 Bo Link 16-10 2004-2005 Tim Dunn 13-7 2019, 2021 Dave Harris 12-15 2015-2016 Jeff Persson 8-6 2007, 2018 Cliff Cosnahan 8-7 2017 Logan Monday* 5-3 2022 Kane Harrison 5-6-1 2014 Damian Serong 3-6 2011 Drew Cox 0-1 2007

Game Day Support

Playing footy on a huge field in the middle of the summer is no easy task. With a running clock and continuous substitutions, what’s a Head Coach to do? Rely on the Water Runners and Message Runners of course! Over the years the Roos have had several volunteers fill these vital positions, sometimes as players taking initiative, other times being ‘volun-told’. But two in particular stand out for their unwavering desire to help the team be its absolute best during the action, Stella Brinker and Greta Fowinkle. When they moved away from Nashville it was noticeable on field, so we take a moment now to recognize their contributions.

In addition, trying to help those in the US understand how this crazy game of Aussie Rules is played takes special effort. When someone see a game being played for the first time, they need help understanding what is a mark, how much a goal versus a behind is worth, and why that infringement was paid! The Nashville Kangaroos pioneered game day announcing right out of the gate and at the 2001 Nationals in Baltimore, MD, the Grand Final was the first ever to include color commentary (and it was colorful!) and analysis, by our very own announce team. It has been a staple of the Coopers Field at Nationals ever since. Filling that role like no other is the one and only, Shane “Mouth of the South” Clohesy. He has had a number of companions help him over the years, none more so that Drew Dunlop. The Kangaroos home games are just better when we have this kind of support (and believe it or not, the players listen to the commentary during the game! And the fans appreciate it as well). So now we take a moment to honor their contributions to the first 25 years of Kangaroo football.

Water/Runner & Announcers

Greta Fowinkle Shane Clohesy (A) Stella Brinker Drew Dunlap


Last (and probably not least, but that might be debatable!) no game can be completed without the umpires. While it is possible for players to “call their own fouls”, it is best for this to be left to the professionals. The Kangaroos have a long history of providing umpires for local games as well as at Nationals, and actually to the international level as well. Early on, Vince McBurney umpires home games for Nashville, and that was a privilege as Vince was at top tier umpire back in the AFL. He was followed closely by Craig Warner who served many years and also was rewarded with multiple Division I Grand Finals at Nationals.

Jeff and Toby Persson have continued the tradition from there with Jeff being the first USAFL Scholarship Umpire and the first to umpire at the International Cup in Australia (and the first American to umpire the IC Grand Final at the MCG!). Toby has picked up the white hat and coat (proverbially) and for the past 15 years has been one of the top goal umpires in the US, has umpired in Australia at the IC, and is the USA Head Goal Coach. And here we also honor one of the most die-hard Kangaroos ever. Alex Benjamin bled Kangaroo Red and Blue for many years, helping out in goals as well as helping with the match reports for the website. We lost Alex a few years back but are pleased to be able to honor him and his commitment to the Kangaroos.

Field & Goal Umpire

Jeff Persson Toby Persson Craig Warner (A) Alex Benjamin

So, as you can see, the Kangaroos are more than just a great bunch of guys and gals kicking the footy around – that Kangaroos are leading the growth of footy in the USA in every aspect!

That wraps up the preliminary trip down memory lane. Be sure to come out Saturday August 27, 2022, when the Nashville Kangaroos will host the Columbus Jackaroos at Elmington Park when the 25th Silver Anniversary Teams are formally announced at this 25th Silver Anniversary Game. Below are a few more of the names that will be included. Keeping in mind that these names are listed in alphabetical order, feel free to speculate as to where each will end up on August 27th.

Nick Parker

Jeff Persson

Travis Quigley

Damian Serong

Luke Stockdale

Joel Thornton

Eric Toepfer

Ben Vaatstra

Lance Van Putten

Carlos Villicana

Dee Vsetecka

Dave Walker


bottom of page