On Friday 31st of August 2018, we lost one of our most dedicated, decorated and humble members, there was never a Blue Demons without Peter Coughlan. The newly formed Club in 1966 invited this talented De Paul boy’s club member to join their ranks to form the first Blue Demons senior team. In 1966 this young man embarked on his Blue Demons journey that would see him fill many roles in the club. A journey that continued right up to his passing, his final official role was attending and presenting prizes at The Blue Demons Golf Classic in June of this year.
To record and give justice to Peter Coughlan’s’ Blue Demons journey 1966-2018 would require a more skilled author and a lot of research but just to give an indication of the time and commitment this man gave to his beloved club along with his family and work life is a testament to his love of Blue Demons.
Whilst still playing as a minor with De Pauls Boys Club, he joined Blue Demons first senior team in 1966. As a player his team went on to dominate the many tournaments in Irish Basketball. He was a member of Irish Basketballs 1st National League winning team in 1973/74. A persistent knee injury was beginning to hamper his playing career and with his playing-time curtailed he evolved firstly into a player /coach role and finally as Head coach of Blue Demons. In 1979, his team won the National Cup and in 1980 they recorded a National League and Cup double. The pinnacle of his Senior Coaching career was in 1983 as he led Blue Demons to a British and Irish Federation Cup title the first and only Irish team to do so.
With his young family now growing, he ended his role as senior head coach but this was far from the end. Over the next 20 years he filled many roles on the Executive committee including Chairman. As his young sons came of age he starting coaching juvenile basketball with the club. So humble was the man that despite his own Coaching credentials he was happy to be assistant coach in the 1996 U-19 National Cup winning team and was again assistant Coach to the Superleague team in 1998.
Away from the basketball his ability and commitment to fundraising was second to none. To use a quote “he is a great man to sell a ticket for you” could easily describe Peter, from Christmas raffle tickets to Last Man Standing, Peter was your man. In 1994 he reached out to his former team mates to raise funds for the club and the inaugural Blue Demons golf classic was held, an event that became an annual event he has championed every year since. As recently as June of this year I had the pleasure of his company at this event and in the true manner of the man and the privacy and dignity in which he fought his illness it was never mentioned.
Peter Coughlan was inducted into the Hall Of Fame of Blue Demons Basketball Club for his outstanding contribution to the Club as a player, coach and administrator. There are no accolades high enough that could truly reflect our appreciation for his efforts. I don’t have the skills to now put into words, what his passing means to this club. As sympathies and condolences were expressed over these past few days, the most poignant phrase to use is that (and maybe you have to be from Cork to understand) “Peter was sound“.
A gentleman, a family man, a Demons man
Peter Coughlan Ar dheis De go raith a anam
Michael O Leary