Former Geelong president Frank Costa has died after a battle with cancer, aged 83.
Costa took over as Cats president in 1999 and stepped down at the end of 2010. Alongside CEO Brian Cook, he led Geelong out of a poor financial state and transformed it into a highly-regarded club.
Two AFL premierships (2007 and 2009) were won during his tenure, plus another in 2011. The 2007 flag broke a premiership drought of 44 years.
“It’s hard to remember how badly off that club was when he first took hold of it,” leading footy reporter Damian Barrett said on The Sunday Footy Show.
“Getting Brian Cook in was as crucial as anything he did.
“He brought the whole town together in a way that had not been done.
“It is a sad time. He had been sick for a number of months now and it’s a very sad day.”
Costa was regarded as a selfless, down to earth character at Geelong but was also revered. He could mix as easily with the fans as with AFL powerbrokers.
Costa made his fortune in the fruit and vegetable industry, a tough business long rife with organised crime influences. His Costa Group was credited with cleaning up the industry.
Costa stepped down from the board of Costa Group in 2019. The publicly-listed company has annual revenue of more than $1 billion.
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Geelong Cats hero Frank Costa dead at 83