Faces of Tamworth: Tamworth Basketball legend Neil Gaffney

DESERVED: Neil Gaffney receives the Sportsman’s Warehouse Community Sports Award from Alix Sills. Photo: Gareth Gardner
DESERVED: Neil Gaffney receives the Sportsman’s Warehouse Community Sports Award from Alix Sills. Photo: Gareth Gardner

It takes a special type of person to hero the development of junior sportspeople. For basketball in Tamworth, Neil Gaffney is one of those people. The outstanding servant to the game of basketball is considered a legend around these parts for his hard work done over the years.

Neil Gaffney, better known in the basketball community as Gaff, is one of the Tamworth Basketball Association’s greatest sons.

A life member of the association, Neil’s involvement with the TBA started at the age of 10 as a keen player where he continued playing until the age of 50.

Throughout his time as a player, and after he finished playing, Gaffney ensured he was helping in as many ways as possible.

Over the past 39 years as a volunteer, he has held board positions, coached many junior teams and has represented Tamworth on various committees with NSW Basketball. 

Along with many committee members, Gaffney was a driving force behind the inception and building of the Tamworth Sports Dome that the Thunderbolts now call home. 

Gaffney’s passion and concentration of entry level junior basketball is unrivalled. 

For the last six years he has been the coordinator for the Aussie Hoops program that sees around 60 kindergarten to year 2 players learn skill and play modified games for eight weeks each term. 

Additionally, Neil is also the head coach of TBA’s Development Squad which Gaffney started in an aim to teach primary aged girls and boys basic skills away from competitive games. 

He is currently the head coach of the Thunderbolts under 12s girls rep team, Tamworth representative on the NSW Country Basketball Committee, TBA Board Member as Director of Coaching and the Liaison officer for the Jamboree in which he was the driving force of bringing the Country Basketball Jamboree to Tamworth.

Tamworth Basketball’s Pete McDonald had nothing but praise for Gaffney.

“Neil has been and outstanding servant of the sport of basketball for almost 40 years and is a true legend of the Tamworth Basketball Association for his passion as a volunteer and his commitment to junior development,” he said.

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