Mick Coffee was 18 when he came into the Norwood senior twenty as a follower in 1881 after shining with the junior team Middlesex the previous season. He played two premiership seasons with Norwood, moved to South Park in 1883, then represented Port Adelaide from 1884 to 1888 and Adelaide in 1889. He was a member of Port's first premiership team in 1894.
Moonlighting between senior clubs, he played in the West Torrens team which beat North Park by 3 goals to 2 for the junior premiership in August 1882.
Under the heading HOT COFFEE, The Saturday Journal of 11 October 1924 reminisced that Mick Coffee "was 'hot stuff' on the ball in the seventies (sic) and eighties, when he followed all day for Norwoods, and afterwards Ports. He was so attentive to the ball that he was never guilty of making presents of frees to the other fellow".
In Port's last match of season 1887, however, he was reported by a goal umpire on a charge he "wilfully struck" W. Dermody of West Adelaide. He was suspended for one match, prompting The Adelaide Observer to say: "It certainly does seem rather hard justice that such a sterling player as Coffee, who for eight years has followed for different senior clubs, and who has never been in trouble before, should be debarred from playing because he struck a man with the palm of his hand. There is not a fairer player amongst the senior clubs."
In 1890 Mick began a lengthy and sometimes controversial umpiring career. In 1896, he ordered that a Norwood-South Adelaide match be abandoned because of the unfit condition of Adelaide Oval.
In 1889, after Norwood defeated Adelaide 4.7 to 3.7, The South Australian Register remarked: "Mr Coffee as umpire was anything but a success ... he allowed flagrant offences against the rules without noticing them. Of course as an impartial umpire he would not favour the Norwoods, but they have to thank him for leniency towards them."
In 1898, The Critic said: "There is a lucky man in the Norwood Club. In the Port match he had a fight with a Port man and a policeman took the names of the pair. But umpire Coffee 'did not see the fight' - perhaps like Horatio Nelson he had a blind eye - and as a Commissioner cannot sit as a court unless the umpire first reports, the player got off scot free."
P Robins May 2017