AT a recent meeting of the new Executive of the Cork County Basketball Board it was decided to form a Hall of Fame award as a way of honouring people who have given great service to Cork Basketball be it as an administrator, player, coach, referee or a volunteer to the sport.
The board are to make the late Mr. Billy Coffey former chairperson and League administrator of the Cork County Basketball Board the first inductee to the Hall of Fame will be presented to his wife Mary at a later date.
The second inductee is Mr John Coughlan, Honouree President of Blue Demons and Honoury President of the Cork County Basketball Board.
One has to go back sixty two years when reflecting on the career of Mr. Coughlan and the respect he was held by all the juveniles that he oversaw during his 60 years in the game of basketball that they still refer to him as Mister.
Rev. Fr. Charles Sinnott a Vincentian priest, a Dubliner, founded a boys club DePaul that was to become the forerunner of the Blue Demons in the crypt of St Vincent's Church Sunday's Well.
John was a senior prefect in the boys club that embraced the game of basketball soon after its foundation and oversaw the development of the juvenile game in Cork with other pioneers of the juvenile game Rev. Bro. Quinn of Blarney Street CBS and Tossie Bruton.
All Mr. Coughlan’s working life was spent at the Irish Dunlop Company until the closure of the plant at the Marina in the mid- eighties and it was DePaul affairs that occupied his leisure time.
Eventually he took the helm at the Cork Juvenile Board and one of the many great qualities of Mr. Coughlan that was very evident during his term as chairperson of the juvenile body was his impartiality when dealing with any matters whether it was involving his own club or otherwise.
Through his work as chairperson he helped shape the character of many a boy and when Blue Demons Basketball Club was founded he held the office of chairperson from 1967 until 1973 the clubs formative years and instilled the same high standards as were practiced in DePaul and ‘it was never a win at all cost’ scenario, but play fair and respect your opponents was his mantra.
During his tenure the Blue Demons club brought international club basketball to Cork through the hosting of the Major Extra Size Tournament in 1973 to 1975 which helped to bring a minority sport, basketball, to the forefront in the sport fanatic city of Cork.
He has been honoured with a Cork Indoor Sports award and is an Honorary Life Member of Basketball Ireland and has been inducted into the Blue Demons club ‘Hall of Fame’.
Mr. Coughlan on his retiring as chairperson of the Cork Juvenile Board took up the position of President of the Cork County Basketball Board a position he held for nigh on thirty years.
Mr. Coughlan worked ‘hand in hand’ with the recently deceased Mr. Billy Coffey the chairperson and administrator ‘par excellence’ of the Cork County Basketball Board and this duo have been responsible in expanding the game throughout the county and facilitated clubs from other counties by inviting them to participate in their well organised competitions.
When reflecting on Mr. Coughlan one can say he was so to speak a ‘Man for All Seasons’ he had an ear for all clubs and was respected by them in return and when those young boys grew to be men they still referred to him as Mr. Coughlan such was imprint his advice and nurturing had on them during their formative years.
Being inducted to the Cork County Basketball Hall of Fame is the culmination of his service to the game of basketball in Cork County and a fitting tribute to a gentleman that gave of his time in helping to form the characters of many boys through the game of basketball.