Hall of Fame - Legend Inductee 2019 - Bob McCaskill
By Richard Jones
Bob ‘The Prince of Coaches’ McCaskill set a BFL record which has never been broken.
He captain-coached Sandhurst to six, consecutive premierships from 1929 to 1934, before adding two more flags to the Hurst’s collection with further successes in 1937 and 1940.
That run of half-a-dozen straight flags set not only a Bendigo benchmark, but also a record for the inter-war period for any Victorian major league.
Richmond had recruited Bob from the Shepparton district but when he come to central Victoria to serve as the YMCA secretary he decided to sign on with the then lowest-rating Bendigo-based BFL club.
And so in 1926 Bob decided he’d pull on the Sandhurst guernsey.
The club hadn’t contested the finals the previous year, but there was to be a one-season hiccup.
Richmond hadn’t officially cleared him so for the ’26 season Bob was Hurst’s non-playing coach.
Eventually sanity prevailed and Bob’s stellar coaching career kicked off.
Following Echuca’s 1928 BFL grand final win centreman Bob McCaskill and his Hurst charges took complete control of the BFL.
The only club to come close to the mighty Sandhurst grand final machine during that six-year run was South Bendigo in 1931.
The Bloods went down by two goals: 10.14 (74) to 8.14 (62).
The formidable Sandhurst side crushed Maryborough by 117 points in the 1933 play-off and then for their sixth, straight victory Bob’s machine triumphed over Castlemaine by 31 points in 1934.
Bob McCaskill demanded loyalty and unswerving teamwork from his players and he instituted a tough and uncompromising training regime.
Bob went on to coach North Melbourne and Hawthorn in the then VFL: the Hawks for 36 matches and North for 102 becoming the first ‘Shinboner’ coach ever to pass the magical 100-game milestone.
Tragically he passed away at home in Mordialloc in 1952, aged only 56.