During his 68 years as a Christian Brother, John Moylan was a man of many parts. He completed a Masters in Adolescent Spirituality at Fordham University, also completing both a BA and a Masters in Australia. Br Moylan was a certified public accountant and held a Clinical Pastoral Education qualification.
However, he was best known as a football coach, particularly at Rostrevor College where his teams tended to sweep all before them. Br Moylan taught in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia and often had a full plate, with various coaching duties, a boarding house to care for as well as his considerable teaching duties.
He was a successful teacher and became something of a legend for his enthusiasm for whatever he was involved in.
The Rostrevor Annual of 1984 – Br Moylan’s final year teaching at the College – describes him as “a legend – as a coach, as a teacher, as a man”.
Br Moylan was First XVIII football coach for 11 consecutive seasons between 1973 and 1984, which included three back-to-back premierships. In a five-year period under ‘Coach Moylan’, Rostrevor lost only four games.
Many were convinced he would eventually ‘shuffle off this mortal soil’ due to a heart attack during one of the matches against arch rival Sacred Heart College, the Annual stated.
Br Moylan coached under-age cricket, resurrected swimming and water polo and re-established Rostrevor as a force in the Independent Schools competition.
Colleagues said Br Moylan emphasised much more than winning, however, and set a great example of sportsmanship demonstrating ‘humility in victory’ and an impressive demeanour in defeat.
Rostrevor deputy principal Frank Ranaldo, who was a student at the college during Br Moylan’s second tenure, said he was a greatly respected teacher.
“As coach of the First XVIII football side, he contributed to the passionate and enthusiastic sporting culture that remains strong at Rostrevor College today,” Mr Ranaldo said.
“Br Moylan wasn’t just a great leader on the sporting field, but in the classroom as well.
“He was an extremely dedicated teacher who guided his Year 12 Economics students to outstanding results, including a student topping the State in 1982.”
Br Moylan also taught accounting and religious education.
Those who knew him best said his greatest contribution to Rostrevor was his personality.
“He exuded friendliness and a genuine love for his students both inside and outside the classroom,” a fellow teacher states in the 1984 Annual.
“His care for his boarders was characterised by a keen desire to see them grow as strong, healthy Catholic men ready to take their place in various communities and exercise leadership.”
Mr Ranaldo said Br Moylan had a strong focus on helping every individual become the best person they could be in all aspects of their life and maintained that concern for his students long after they had left school.
Br Moylan passed away from pneumonia at the Royal Adelaide Hospital at the age of 83.
A kind, perceptive and generous man, he will be greatly missed by the Brothers and his numerous past pupils.Jump to next article