Former Hawthorn, West Coast Coach Ken Judge Has Passed Away At Age 58

It’s the Australian Football community’s turn to shoulder the burden of mourning on this awful, awful week, following news that former Hawthorn and West Coast coach Ken Judge has passed away earlier today. He was 58.

Judge was a renowned figure in Western Australian football, having begun his playing career in 1975 with the East Fremantle Football club in the WAFL.
After 120 games with the Sharks, Judge crossed the Nullarbor in 1983 to the dominant VFL, joining Hawthorn with immediate success. Judge won the Best First Year Player award from the club, and was a key cog in the Hawks rampaging 1983 VFL Premiership victory.
After 72 games with the Hawks, he moved up to the fledgling Brisbane Bears in 1987, where his active playing career wrapped up in 1988.
After a successful stint overseeing Carlton‘s all-conquering 1995 AFL Premiership victory as an assistant, Judge then stepped up to a head coaching role with his old club Hawthorn in 1996. Though the struggling Hawks continued stumbling under Judge’s watch, and he eventually voluntarily resigned in 1999, with a year left on his contract.
Judge then returned to Western Australia to take charge of the West Coast Eagles for two seasons in 2000 and 2001, but again, poor on-field results plagued the side, and Judge was removed in 2001 and replaced by club favourite son John Worsfold.
Following his exit from coaching, Judge took up a successful career as a radio commentator with the ABC.
Judge’s death today came on his 58th birthday, and followed a long struggle with cancer.
The football community has been pouring out emotion on social media since news of Judge’s demise broke.

Rest easy, Judgey.
Photo: Sean Garnsworthy/Getty Images.