Notable People of Collingwood

Collingwood Notables Database

James Francis (Jock) McHale


Footballer, coach, brewery supervisor

Personal Photo 1

James Francis McHale, better known as Jock, remains the most successful coach in the history of the VFL/AFL competition. He coached Collingwood for 38 years (1913-1950) in which time the Club won eight premierships – 1917, 1919, 1927-30, 1935-36. To Collingwood supporters he is still considered the ‘Prince of Coaches’. Over the years his fame as a coach  reached legendary status as his love of the Club rubbed off on his players who were ready to ‘run through walls’ for Club and coach. He inspired his teams with an insatiable desire to win. He coached the famous ‘machine’ which won four premierships in a row.

His coaching success overshadowed his splendid playing career.  As a Collingwood ‘six footer’ he was 180cm tall and weighed 76 kilograms. He played 262 games, played in two premiership sides – 1910 and 1917 - and was captain twice, in 1912 and 1913. He was on the Club committee from 1921 to 1938 and Vice-President from 1939 to 1953. He was coach of the Collingwood Team of the Century selected in 1997.  In 2001 the AFL named the premiership medal for the winning coach in his honour – the Jock McHale Medal. He was inducted as a Legend of the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2005.

McHale’s views on football were compelling. He wrote:

There is more in football than merely kicking a ball about. You will discover this as your training progresses. If played in the proper spirit, this game brings out the very best that is in a boy. It develops him morally and physically. It teaches him that to flinch spells cowardice. It teaches him, perhaps more than other game does, the art of self-control. To be cool, with a level head, is absolutely essential. It teaches him to be unselfish and manly. All this may be summed up in one word -character - and if that is not worth developing, nothing is.

McHale was born in Botany Bay, Sydney, in 1881 and the family moved to Melbourne while he was still a boy. His primary school education was at St Brigid’s, North Fitzroy and St Paul’s in Coburg, and in 1894-96 he attended Parade, the Christian Brothers’ College in East Melbourne. After leaving school, he was employed at the McCracken Brewery where he became a leading hand. In 1947 when he retired he was supervising the brewing process at Carlton Brewery in Bouverie Street.

Life Summary

Birth Date Birth Place
1881 Alexandria, NSW
Spouse Name Date of Marriage Children
Violet Mary Angel Godfrey James Francis, Mary Jean, John?
Church Lodge
Death Date Death Place Cemetery
1953 Coburg Coburg

McFarlane, The story of Jock McHale, Collingwood's greatest coach; Taylor,The history of the Collingwood Football Club, 1892-1948; Stremski, Kill for Collingwood; Roberts, A century of the best; Wikipedia.
ADB James McHale


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