Eugene Evans may have graduated years ago, but he could not wait to get home from boarding school for a few days.
The head of boarding at Rostrevor College said he was looking forward to seeing a host of familiar faces when he joined Rostrevor principal Brian Schumacher at the Eyre Peninsula Field Days.
Born in Streaky Bay, Mr Evans lived, worked and played football on Eyre Peninsula for 18 years.
Mr Evans was a champion footballer for Rovers and was part of the 1976 premiership team which broke a long drought and backed up that success in 1977 and 1978.
His brother Tom operates Evans’ Oysters and sister and brother-in-law Ellen and Ron Bascombe and nephew Brenton – a Rostrevor boarder and former Port Adelaide footballer – are a prominent Streaky Bay family.
He said Rostrevor College had a long connection with Eyre Peninsula farming families and was the “home away from home” for generations of grandfathers, fathers, uncles and brothers.
Mr Evans and his wife Pam – who has lived with him in boarding houses for 20 years – said the Rostrevor College boarding house had a “good country feel”.
“Boarding schools offer so much more than just school.
“It’s a lifestyle experience that will stay with these young men forever [and] their personalities also develop away from the comforts of home,” he said.
Mr Evans’ football passion has held him in good stead as the head of Rostrevor boarding, helping to nurture many SANFL and AFL talents, including Wudinna’s Harrison Petty who made his AFL debut for the Melbourne Demons earlier this season.
Meanwhile, current year 12 boarder Kaya Scott of Ceduna was recently awarded a local government 2018 NAIDOC youth award for leadership and service to the community.
Mr Evans said his experience as a boarder could help those under his leadership.
“I like to think I can bring a lot to the boys that board with us through my own experiences because I understand the struggle of living away from home and I am able to be there to support them and their families – that is something that I cherish.”