Len was a champion athlete as a kid at school at Donald High before he started playing football in the Ballarat Football League in the 1950s. He went on to play at the senior level with North Melbourne in the VFL, the precursor to the AFL, from 1952 – 1958.
Following his playing career, Len coached the Ballarat Football Club for 13 years, winning 3 premierships and becoming finalists on many occasions. He coached Ballarat to a win in the 1959 Footballers 4 x 110 Yds Relay Race. Len was also a member of the relay team with Bill Candy, Jock Hayes and Rick Winnell.
Len’s career as an athletics coach started in the 1960s when he trained a number of good runners including Wally Spark, John Cocking and Peter Donovan, who broke the world professional 600 metre record at Stawell in 1962. After giving it away for a while, Len returned to coaching again in 1991.
In all, Len has coached 19 winners and numerous placegetters at Stawell alone, including the 1999 Stawell Gift winner, Rod Mathews and Gift finalists Tony Martin, Evan King and Peter O’Dwyer. Other winners include distance runners Andrew McManus, Matthew McCauley and Len’s grandson, Nathan Hartigan.
Len continues to coach and will again have his athletes competing at Stawell this Easter.