COLAC Basketball Association’s Peter “Helmut” Foley still remembers turning up to the “sheep shed” to referee games of basketball.
The association awarded the 50-year-old Foley with life membership, having been involved since 1970 – when the association played at Colac’s showgrounds.
“I reckon I started playing at about nine or 10 when schools first started playing,” he said.
“I would have been in Grade Four, I wasn’t supposed to play because I was too young but my brother Ian was involved with the association.”
Colac basketball moved to its current home at Bluewater Fitness Centre six years later, when a teenage Foley was already making a name for himself in the senior basketball ranks.
Since beginning playing, the popular Colac basketball identity has also joined representative squads and even picked up a whistle – something he still uses today.
“I would have represented Colac in senior basketball when I was about 14 or 15, about the time I started reffing and since then I’ve only had half a year off when I hurt my knee, that was about two years ago,” he said.
Foley, husband of Lynda Foley, hung up the sneakers “about four or five years ago”. He now coaches sons Jordan, 15, and Jack, 11.
Foley has also made a name for himself as a coach, leading senior basketball as well as South Colac’s senior football and netball teams with his loud, booming voice becoming synonymous with district sport.
Foley, also a life member with South Colac Football Netball Club, received the honour during Colac basketball’s grand final night on Tuesday night.
Among other award winners were Vicki Lang, Gus Goonan Memorial Award, and Tracey Tann, Joyce Williamson Memorial Award, for their service to Colac basketball.
Chris Dell and Janet Fenton also received Commonwealth Back Awards for their efforts in junior basketball development.
The association also presented A Grade best and fairest winners Trent Piera and Rachel Rodger with their tropheys.