Life Member Profile – Tony Ewing

Tony Ewing became involved with the Perth Basketball club in 1972 as a physical education teacher at Kewdale Senior High School. He arrived at the school at the same time as Stuart Mackay (who had been a school friend at Kent Street SHS). Tony and Stuart joined a small group of teachers and Perth players in 1972 which included John Wallace, Ian Sharp, Rod Clinch and a little later, Steve Beech, to coordinate and develop a junior development program following the defection of many young Tuart Hill and Mirrabooka players to the Stirling Basketball Association; so was established the first Junior Committee of the Perth Basketball Association.

It was decided that the Committee would concentrate its efforts on recruiting players from Applecross, Bentley and Kewdale high schools and to point them in the direction of the Perth Club where appropriate and possible. Players from this program included John Bluntschli, Chris Cassir, Debbie Fitzsimons, David Almond, Noel Bailey, Andrew Lewis and Gary Foster among others. There was no other indoor basketball stadium besides Perry Lakes in Perth at that time and so junior teams from Applecross, Bentley and Kewdale played there in a Basketball WA-sponsored competition on Saturdays. The Perth Junior Committee and its members, including Tony, also ran a competition on the outdoor courts at Kent St SHS and in Manning for U14 and U16 teams from Bentley, Kewdale and Applecross for both girls and boys in the third school term of each year called the Junior Spring Tournament from 1972-1979. They also ran two residential weekend coaching camps for boys in 1975 and 1976.

Tony sat on the Junior Committee from 1972-1987 and assisted with the coaching at Kewdale SHS in the 1970s. By 1979 many of the juniors from the junior program were progressing into the senior men and women’s teams of the PBA. Tony also played in a number of Perth teams in this period and undertook the role of fitness co-ordinator for Perth’s SBL men’s team in 1980 (the same year he was awarded the PBA President’s trophy).

By 1980, the Junior Committee was achieving a level of success that enabled it to start competitions at the Vic Park Recreation Centre for both boys and girls in 1982/3. Had it not been for the work of the Junior Committee and its members like Tony in the period 1972-1982 and beyond, the club would not have had the personnel or the expertise and experience required to take advantage of the boom in basketball which followed the establishment of the NBL and the Wildcats in the 1980s and 1990s.

From late 1993 through 1999, Tony chaired the Foundation Committee with fellow Life Members Rob Rowbottam and Alan Doughty which had a focus on assisting PBA members in active administrative roles by facilitating their attendance at various training courses. It also assisted the transition of junior basketballers into the senior ranks. He was also a member of the larger Transition Summit Group in 1996 which also addressed this transition issue in greater depth.

In addition, Tony made available a home unit as accommodation for PBA import players from the USA, 1994-7. He moved to the south-west of WA in 1999 but maintains a keen interest and participates in the activities of the Life Members Committee and the PBA in general.

Tony Ewing was awarded Life Membership of the Perth Redbacks in 1982.

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