THE basketball fraternity in Cork are in mourning with the news that former chairman Billy Coffey had passed away after a short illness.
Billy was the chief and supremo of Cork basketball for over 40 years and newly-elected chairman Francis O’Sullivan paid tribute to him for his incredible work over four decades.
“For the majority of us involved in basketball he was a guardian of the sport on so many levels and he held everybody to high standards as it was all about accountability and doing your business correctly just as he did during his lifetime,” said Francis O’Sullivan.
“When dealing with Basketball Ireland and the various county boards in this country where he was also chairman nationally he held them to high standards and that was the honest way he always operated.
“A master organiser it will take six people to replace him as the workload he dealt with was simply amazing.”
One of his closest friends and confidants in the sport was Blue Demons founder member Jim Dineen who was visibly upset when informed of Billy’s passing.
“I have been associated with the sport for over 60 years and was a former secretary of the County Board and I feel as a friend I am able to give an honest assessment of Billy’s work during his 40 plus years involved in the sport,” said Dineen.
“Billy was always a gentleman to deal with and conducted the business of the board in a very fair and progressive manner.
“On the back of Billy’s work the Cork County Board hosted tournaments at all levels under his guidance and the success rate was phenomenal.
“I could go on and the many achievements that Billy succeeded in doing but it would take too long but today is probably the darkest day in Cork basketball losing a man that gave his life to sport as a volunteer.”
Chairman of Neptune basketball club Paul Barrett also expressed his deep sadness.
“What do you say about a man who held basketball together for so long in this city and county as he was a pleasure to deal with and his ability to organise was a level that will never again be reached again in our sport,” said Barrett.
He believes finding a man of Billy’s dedication will be an impossibility.
“When you look at his workload it was simply incredible, but he was so dedicated to the job he simply just gone on with it and on behalf of Neptune basketball club we offer our deepest sympathy to the Coffey family on the passing of a true gentleman.”