In Memory Of Eilleen Stobie

Our thoughts go out the family and friends of Eilleen Stobie, a basketball stalwart who passed away on Friday 10 December.

From a basketball loving family, Eilleen started playing while at school in Manurewa.  After moving to the Waikato, she won multiple national championships while playing for the First Division Waikato Women’s team before moving into player semi-retirement with the Third Division Morrinsville-Te Aroha team.

Once she ‘hung her boots up for real’ she coached the Waikato Women’s Division One team, leading them to multiple national championships.  Always a strong advocate for women’s basketball, it was in the development of future players where Eilleen found her true passion and calling.

Along with Mel Young, she was one of the founders of the Koru programme – which nearly 30 years later, still exists and has produced some of New Zealand’s greatest basketball talent. Eilleen’s skills as an age group coach were further recognised with appointments as assistant coach and then later head coach roles for New Zealand age group teams in the 1990s.

She was also there to help start up an Easter basketball carnival, which would later be renamed the Mel Young Classic.  This too, is still an integral tournament in the development of our young players with many of the players she coached going onto further national honours and are now coaches and administrators themselves.  She leaves behind a true basketball legacy as a player, coach and administrator.

Eilleen took a step back after being diagnosed with cancer, but true to form she took this battle head on and returned to action after being given the all-clear. After re-training as a teacher, she took a position at Sacred Heart Girls’ College, Hamilton where – based on sound basic skills, a never say die attitude and tenacious defence – she helped to develop a highly successful school girls basketball programme.

Her promotion to Deputy Principal in 2011 and then further health issues, meant that – while she had to give the game away – she remained an ardent supporter and armchair ‘analyst’ right up to the end.

Eilleen had a big heart but was a woman of few words. When she spoke, everyone listened and she said it how it was. She will be remembered for her tenacious approach to the game and to life in general.

Rest in peace Eilleen, and thank you for everything you did for our game and the community.