Netball Australia has bestowed the highest honour on iconic figure Joyce Brown, today announcing her elevation as the first Legend in the Netball Australia Hall of Fame.
The announcement was made at Netball Australia’s `Memories and Milestones’ lunch held in Sydney attended by past and present Australian players and officials to celebrate their contribution to the history and heritage of Australian netball.
Brown was one of the inaugural inductees into the Hall of Fame when it was first established in 2008 and is revered in Australian netball.
Netball Australia President Noeleen Dix said Brown was deserving of the elevation to Legend status.
“A Legend has elevated, influenced and impacted netball and sport through the depth and breadth of their actions nationally and internationally over an extended period of time,” Dix said.
“They introduce new ideas and concepts never known before in netball. They command respect and admiration across multiple fields and industries. Joyce was a unanimous choice with the board of Netball Australia to receive this prestigious honour.”
Brown, who is credited for inspiring a generation of young netballers with her leadership and mentoring skills, said she was humbled by the accolade and paid tribute to her family for their support over her decades of involvement in the sport.
“It’s outstanding really, I thank all the people in netball,” Brown said. “I think my hardest team to coach has been the family team. To succeed as a human being with my family is my greatest achievement.
“After that comes all the wonderful young women that have come through my hands. It's the relationships that I've made with people through netball that have been so important to me.”
Having represented Victoria for five years, Brown captained Australia to the inaugural Netball World Cup title in 1963 and made all her nine international appearances at that tournament in England.
Brown then coached Australia in 66 Tests spread across three decades for 58 victories, including leading the country to world titles in 1975, 1983 and 1991. She was appointed the first full-time national coach in 1990.
Remarkably, Brown never lost a Netball World Cup match as a player and coach.
She was National Coaching Director between 1980 and 1983 where her visionary outlook set new benchmarks for a National Coaching Accreditation Scheme and introduced the first modified form of the game for children.
Brown returned to coaching in the former Australian national league with the Melbourne Phoenix between 1999 and 2002, guiding the club to premierships in 2000 and 2002.
As well as being a successful player and coach, Brown was also an accomplished umpire and earned her All Australian (AA) badge and received the AA Umpires Award in 1961.
Brown is also a member of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame and in 1992 was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her services to sport.
Netball Victoria and the entire netball community across Victoria congratulate Joyce Brown on her elevation to Legend status.