KD – the go-to man

KD: Kevin Douglas has spent decades instructing Mount Gambier's youth through sport and education to be kind.

Jeff Huddlestone

Kevin Douglas, perhaps better known as KD, has been prominent in local education and sporting circles in Mount Gambier since 1974.

Raised in Adelaide and born on September 29, 1951, football grand final day, so too was his affinity with football.

He took his mother’s advice and became a physical education (PE) teacher at Urbrae college.

The term KD was coined by his South Adelaide football coach in the 1960s and is still used today.

“KD seems to be the one that’s stuck…I do not mind it, I actually like it,“ Mr Douglas said.

As a teacher in the South East, Mr Douglas has served at Grant High Alendale, Millicent and Mount Gambier Highs and the district office.

Mr Douglas refers to his time at Grant as the keystone of his career.

“I can proudly say my time at Grant High was magnificent,“ he said.

“The school saw fit to name the entrance and the quadrangle the Carol Lock and Kevin Douglas quadrangle and that was such an honour.“

Against the grain of Mister or Sir in the 70s, Mr Douglas put his initials on the blackboard, and even his students called him KD. He did not mind, as long as it was respectful.

“Show respect, to people, open a door, open a gate, let people through, all these types of things,“ Mr Douglas said.

Kevin is a black and white guy who instilled certain values when teaching students with behavioural issues.

Away from the classroom, Mr Douglas became equally as familiar a face at racetracks and sports fields in the region.

Greyhound, racing and trotting codes have benefited from his services in Mount Gambier.

He is still in demand as a master of ceremonies (MC) for presentations and special events on race days, trotting evenings, sports nights, and charity fundraisers, and has hosted the 5SE sports show for eight years.

“Most of the time for the last 30 years, I have been on the end of a microphone,“ Mr Douglas said.

“It is just something that has built up over the years. I don’t know whether my name has stayed at the top as the first port of call because of some skill, or that they know my phone number.“

Mr Douglas’ other sporting pursuits have included Western Border, South Gambier football and local baseball.

“The association asked me to be the president for just one year because they needed someone able to make some black and white decisions, not without some resistance,“ Mr Douglas said.

Recently Mr Douglas was honoured to be the host of the legend’s day for local baseball stalwart Sid Hosking, who was honoured by South Australian baseball, something well deserved.

“It is his generosity and sincerity about promoting baseball and looking after the facilities at Blue Lake sports park,“ Mr Hosking said.

“Just his presence watching Saturday night baseball games, people walking by would say G’Day Sid.“

Mr Douglas helps the secretary on local trotting nights and is involved with greyhound club fundraising between $1500 and 2000 for six local charities, including the sunset kitchen and the thrift shop.

Catch for cash is a fundraiser to catch greyhounds after they race, with 14 clown tipsters raising funds.

Another of Mr Douglas’ community involvements is the annual Christmas Day lunch at city hall.

“We provide a wonderful lunch for 100 to 140 people, we have volunteers and I have been on the committee for the last eight years,“ he said.

“The people just walk out after lunch and say a sincere thank you.“

Mr Douglas is currently undergoing treatment for prostate cancer and has been trying to spread the word on early detection of the disease as he said men are doctor shy.

“We have got this bravado thing, ’not me mate’, ’I’m alright mate’,“ he said.

Mr Douglas spoke about his cancer at a South Gambier sports night, where he appealed to women in the audience.

“I said ladies I want you to be proactive because we [men] think we are too strong, but we are actually too weak to make the appointment,“ he said.

“Three ladies came up and thanked me for my words and said they’d be making appointments.“

Mr Douglas said Mount Gambier is a great city, but some people are doing it tough, and we can do more.

“It may simply be by saying G’Day and cheering up someone’s day,“ Mr Douglas said.