The Geelong Football Club is in mourning the passing of past president Frank Costa.

An iconic figure in the Geelong region, Costa has long been a community leader. He joined the Geelong board in the late 1990’s and ascended to the presidency in late 1998. Costa remained as president until the end of 2010 when he retired from the board. He then became the club’s patron.

Costa was recently named as the club’s 26th legend. He became the first non-player to receive legend status. Costa was made aware of his induction in the past week.

“Frank was a legend as a person, and a legend of the club. He forged so many strong and lasting relationships through his warmth and authenticity. He will be missed by all that have been fortunate enough to know and love him,” Geelong Football Club CEO Brian Cook said.

“Our thoughts are with Shirley, and the entire Costa family. 

“Frank took on one of the toughest roles in football as our president at a time when the very future of the Geelong Football Club was in the balance. The club was on a financial precipice, playing in a crumbling venue and had not tasted premiership success in 36 years.

“When Frank departed as president at the end of 2010 he left the club with state-of-the-art facilities, a record breaking team that had broken a premiership drought in 2007 and added another flag in 2009, and on a financial footing that set the club up for long term stability.

“Frank undertook his role with much enthusiasm and generated huge goodwill for the club through his love of the club and the game.

“Without Frank, there must be a genuine question as to whether or not the Geelong Football Club would exist today. It is highly doubtful it would exist in its current form without having had Frank at the helm.

“When the history of the club is written, it will be impossible to do so without having Frank at the forefront of the past 20-25 years. He took a divided club and willed it into the club we know today.”

Costa was awarded the medal of the Order of Australia in 1997, and he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2015. He is also a life member of the Geelong Football Club.