The Gold Coast Titans offer our sincere condolences and deepest sympathies to the family of Tom Searle, who passed away on Monday after a long battle with illness.
Tom is a former Titans employee, joining the Club in its foundation year as junior recruitment manager under his son Michael, the Titans’ founder and first managing director.
But his role with the Titans was just one step in a long love affair that Tom shared with rugby league on the Gold Coast as a player, coach and administrator stretching back to his arrival at Tweed Heads in 1972 as a 23-year-old to captain-coach the Seagulls.
His impact was immediate. In 1971, the Seagulls finished last without winning a game. The next year under Tom, the Seagulls made the grand final – the first of eight deciders Tweed would play under Tom’s leadership.
Universally admired and respected for his knowledge of and passion for the game, Tom made an immeasurable contribution to rugby league and our region, while simultaneously being adored for his kind and gentle nature.
Gold Coast Titans Chairman Dennis Watt paid tribute to a great rugby league man to whom “all of us who love the game owe so much”.
“I remember the reverence there was for Tom Searle as a player. Yet, as a man and a mentor, he stood even taller in the lives of all those people he impacted in such a positive and caring way,” Watt said.
“Like all champions, he handled his illness with extraordinary dignity and courage.
“We will not forget him, nor his legacy of looking for and finding the best in others.
“His loss – to his family, including Titans founder Michael, to the broader rugby league family and to the community itself – is immense.”
To Michael and the entire Searle family, and to Tom’s many, many friends made during his remarkable 50-year contribution to rugby league and the Gold Coast community, the Titans mourn with you today, and offer you our sympathies and friendship at the loss of a great man.