Hail To The Coach…Jimmy To Receive Basketball Ireland’s Presidents Award

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Jimmy Diggins.

JUST two years after being inducted into the Basketball Ireland Coaches Hall Of Fame, a Tralee man is now to receive its highest honour this Saturday night.

Jimmy Diggins will receive the Basketball Ireland Presidents Award at a ceremony in The National Basketball Arena in Tallaght and no better man to get it after giving 40 years to basketball in the county.

Jimmy told us he was delighted when he was informed by the President of Basketball Ireland, Teresa Walsh, that he would receive the honour, which recognises his contribution to basketball locally and nationally.

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“I was over the moon. I don’t do this for the honours, but it’s a lovely thing to happen. I love basketball, I love coaching and I love working with people,” said Jimmy.

“The game has been very good to me and has brought me all over Europe and to the USA. I’ve met some great people, had some great moments and I’ve gained unbelievable satisfaction from basketball over the years. It’s both a lifetime passion and a lifetime hobby. I believe when you stop playing sport you can still be involved and learn more about it,” he said.

Jimmy started out playing with the Stacks club back in the 1960s when they had a team playing on the court at CYMS.

“Back in the 1960s and 70s basketball was absolutely huge in the town with a number of teams playing,” said Jimmy who played with Kerry minor and senior basketball teams.

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“When the Stacks team ended I was asked to by the late John Dowling would I coach his daughters and I started with Moyderwell school,” he said.

Jimmy and the girls enjoyed enormous success in the late 1970s and 80s winning All-Ireland Under 16 and Senior titles and Gold and Silver in the European Championships.

He then got involved in women’s league basketball becoming Head Coach of Lee Strand ladies basketball, becoming Division 2 champions & top four champions, Division 1 Champions and top four champions and winning three national cups.

Between 1993-1999 he became Head coach of Balloonagh secondary school winning senior and under 16 titles. He also coached the Irish teams ladies U16 – U18- u20 during an eight year period in the Noughties.

He is still heavily involved today coaching Mounthawk Girls and Boys teams, coaching in Balloonagh Primary school basketball program, as Tralee Imperials Coaching Coordinator and was involved in setting up the Tralee Warriors Superleague team, becoming team manager.

Jimmy is married to Sheila and he has two children, Leon and Dawn. He also has a grandson Rian who has caught the basketball bug.

“He’s only seven and he’s training with a basketball three hours a day, seven days a week. He’s obsessed with the two Warriors — Tralee and Golden State — and is a big Steph Curry fan,” said Jimmy. Another hoops fanatic then, just like granddad, Tralee’s ‘Mr Basketball’!

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