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Smith receives AFL Merit Award

KEVIN Smith’s outstanding service to football has been acknowledged, with the NFL umpires boss the winner of the 2014 AFL Merit Award.

Smith celebrated his 50th year in football in 2014, after commencing his umpiring career in 1965 as an umpire in the Preston and District Junior Football League.

Smith received the AFL Merit Award at the NFL Senior Presentation Night last week in a special presentation that featured speeches from former AFL umpire Rowan Sawers and NFL chief executive Peter McDougall.

The AFL Merit Award is presented to only two recipients each year.

Smith umpired a total of 303 VFL games between 1971 to 1985, including 23 finals and four grand finals in 1975, 1976, 1979 and 1983.

In 1975 he was the last umpire to officiate a VFL grand final by himself and the following season he and Bill Deller were the first umpires to officiate a grand final in the two-umpire system.

After retiring from umpiring in 1985, Smith served on the VFL appointment board as an assistant coach for four seasons.

He then became the umpire advisor for the Southern Umpires Association (SUA), where his seven-year service was attributed as making the most significant impact in the SUA’s history.

Deservingly, he was awarded life membership of the SUA in recognition of his contribution.

Smith moved to the Eastern Football League (EFL) in 1997 as the league’s umpire manager. During this period he developed a reputation as the best umpiring coach outside of the AFL.

At the conclusion of the 2007 season, Smith moved his work closer to home and was appointed as the Northern Football League’s (NFL) Director of Umpiring.

Under Smith’s stewardship, the NFL’s umpire numbers have reached a record high, with more than 150 umpires in attendance at training each Wednesday night.

This year, one of Smith’s protégé Lucinda Lopes became the first female field umpire to be selected onto the VFL’s umpires list.

Amongst Smith's other notable achievements are life membership with both the AFL and AFL Umpires Association, and induction into the AFL Umpires Association Hall of Fame.

The Northern Football League again congratulations Kevin Smith on his outstanding service to football and on receiving the 2014 AFL Merit Award.

Kevin Smith - 50 Years Service To Football

1965 – Preston Junior FL
1966 – 1970 VFL Reserve Grade
1971 – 1985 VFL Senior List
1986 – 1989 – VFL Assistant Coach and Member of Appointment Board
1990-1996 – Umpiring Director - Southern Umpires Association
1997-2007 – Director of Umpiring - Eastern Football League
2007-current - Director of Umpiring – Northern Football League

303 VFL Games
23 VFL Finals
4 VFL Grand Finals – 1975, 1976, 1979 & 1983
AFL Life Membership
AFL Umpires Association Life Membership 1978
Southern Umpires Association Life Membership 1995
AFL Umpires Association Hall of Fame 2008