Our friend and colleague -
a man for athletes with no thought of gain for himself
“Beyond saddened to share news of the passing of my coach and dear friend
John Melvin. Many in Scotland will have been impacted by or have benefited from John’s efforts, skills, and experience over the years. I will miss him greatly and probably won’t have dry eyes for a while."
Ray Bobrownicki, whom John coached and who reached the final of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games High Jump competition
"Great pictures, Ray, and even better sentiments. I’ll share with you moist eyes for a while. He was some man in so many ways. His contribution to athletics in all his many roles and his manner of doing so are inestimable. I will miss him terribly."
Ronnie Stevenson, GAA Convenor
“Great photos of a great man, Ray. Our lives will be empty for a long time with the passing of Coach John Melvin: who taught me so much. A generous, honorable, man always planning ahead for athletes. Thoughts are with Evelyn and the family on their loss.
RIP JOHN MELVIN – Friend”
Brian Donaldson, GAA EC & Coach
A coach, a mentor, my Grandpa.
He wasn't boastful, a peacock, arrogant or thought he was too good a coach for anyone.He was grounded, humble and quietly confident in his and his athletics abilities.
To all coaches out there please don't underestimate the impact you will have on a young person's life. It's greater than you could ever imagine and will last a lifetime"
John made a fantastic contribution to athletics as a coach, official, administrator, team manager, facility and equipment supremo etc, etc and not the least his contribution to the GAA since its inception. John played a vital role in establishing the GAA as an organisation aimed at developing athletics in Glasgow in cooperation with the clubs, coaches and athletes, Glasgow Sport and Scottish Athletics.
He played a role with others in developing our activities. We highlight two. First - Team Manager of Team Glasgow initially in the National Junior League and then in the National Youth Development League for U20’s and U17’s. That alone would be a worthy legacy inspiring as it did many young athletes to stay in the sport when athlete retention was difficult and move on to Glasgow City AC.
Second - His fight for athletes led to another legacy he left and that was from the fight for access and equipment for vertical jumps along with others from the GAA. Eventually we obtained use of the space at Tollcross for Pole Vault and High Jump and John obtained and laid the Mondo there saving the Council thousands. Even in the last few weeks the efforts he led for the GAA to obtain new High Jump mats for Tollcross came to fruition and during lockdown came up from Troon to make sure they were delivered and stored properly. That Troon to the Emirates journey was something his car almost did automatically he has travelled it so often with only one thought in mind - this will improve life for athletes.
Finally the GAA would record that the role of Evelyn, his wife, as treasurer for the GAA and soulmate for John in his lifelong service to athletics is an inspiration to us all. John will never be forgotten by so many and we will miss him terribly.
Many have left comments on various sites about John, far too many to quote them all but just a few to demonstrate the love people had for him across a wide spectrum of athletics.
“John was a truly unique and incredible man and I feel so privileged to have been able to get to know him properly over the last few years. He was kind, fearless, tenacious and embodied the true spirit of our great sport. Though never my coach you were a great mentor to me and I will miss you dearly.
I will take solace in the fact our last conversation was spent
discussing high jump.
Rest in Peace J
Yours N x”
Nikki Manson, GAA Coordinator & Athlete
"His greatest strength to my mind was his stubborn refusal to accept anything less than the best possible for athletes he coached.”
Eamon Fitzgerald, Coach
"Once you got past the curmudgeonly exterior that he enjoyed presenting you could see how much he genuinely cared for people.”
Chris Marshall, Parent
"It is with great sadness Glasgow Sport learned of the passing of athletics coach John Melvin earlier this week. John’s energy, dedication and knowledge of athletics particularly high jump were unmatched. Thoughts and love are with his wife Evelyn, his family and all who loved him.”
“Like all within sport in Scotland we are saddened by the sudden death of John Melvin. To us, in the Clinic, John was our first sports massage practitioner but more importantly a friend. We send all our love to John’s wife Evelyn and his children. X”
Hampden Sports Clinic
We would like to leave a statement from the young athletes of Team Glasgow till last as it was to them he gave his time, support encouragement and much else.
“Four years ago we started this account to celebrate John and the amazing impact he’s had on our lives. We wanted to document the time we shared. Sadly we’re now posting to say that this morning John Melvin passed away.
To us John was a coach and team manager, but he was so much more. He has been at the heart of athletics in Scotland for longer than most of us have been around and truly went above and beyond to make it a welcoming place.
By managing Team Glasgow John voluntarily took on a huge task for no purpose other than to give us the opportunity to compete at a higher level and help us succeed. In an individual sport it’s often hard to feel part of a team, but John created a supportive community for young athletes in Glasgow which at such a critical point in their lives kept so many in the sport. For this we are forever grateful. John never asked for anything in return for the time and effort he gave to others, who he really did put first. This is testament to the kind of person he was.
John was kind, selfless and willing to move mountains to help those around
him. It’s so rare to find someone who would put the world before himself and
we are so blessed to have had him in our lives. As we’re sitting writing this
we’re thinking about how without John we wouldn’t be here together.
We will leave this account here in honour of the most incredible man we’ve
ever had the privilege of meeting. To show the world how grateful we are to
have known him.
John Melvin, husband, father, grandfather and great friend.
We send our love to his wife Evelyn and those close to him.
Rest in peace,
Emma, Robyn and Euan"