A life in basketball. Sports chief’s big picture focus always about people | The Courier

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PERSEVERANCE is one key factor those who have worked closest with sports visionary Peter Eddy find is his strength. They say this strength comes from a genuine ability to being able to talk to anyone and find out what really matters to people, to this community and the wider region. Mr Eddy walked out of stadium for the final time as Basketball Ballarat’s chief on Friday after a career in the role spanning more than 30 years. He walked out sad but proud as he knew he would. Mr Eddy was most well-known late in his career for driving a decade-long push for a modern indoor stadium, catering to community and major event needs. Earlier on, he helped launch Ballarat Miners and develop a strong regional elite basketball pathway. “Leaving proud is not so much about the business but dealing with some of the kids who started in teams or working here and reflecting how well they have done in their lives,” Mr Eddy said. “I’m lucky to have had a chance to be part of their life. At the end of the day, they’ve got to do the work but you support and encourage them along the way.” Miners championship captain Glenn White said Mr Eddy, as his junior coach, took him “under his wing” and helped offer some direction. Mr White said it was incredible to look back at how much the sport had changed under Mr Eddy’s guidance. When Mr White played as a teenager, the Minerdome was a two-court stadium with a canteen and toilet. Mr White’ job now is based at the new Ballarat Sports and Events Centre as elite teams manager and he said he had learnt so much on the journey: “He’s a good mentor, good friend and good boss”. While the pandemic completely changed Mr Eddy’s plans for his final six months in the job, he was glad he could step up and help guide his team to face the challenge, quickly shutting down in order to remain afloat. Basketball Ballarat operations manager Mark Valentine said Mr Eddy had “dragged a minor sport into a major player in this city” and leaves a professional, sporting outfit with a reputation as a leader in regional Victoria and regional Australia. There have been plenty of knock-backs but Mr Valentine said intention was not a resting point. They would re-group with a strengthened plan and always look for new opportunities to develop sport where needed. “He’s learnt the art of lobbying and is a master at it, but he lets the facts talk, regardless of who he is talking to” Mr Valentine said. “He’s a great leader but hasn’t been afraid to let others pick up an idea and run with it, whether it’s small things like our work environment, or major events like the Commonwealth Games…We’re a good organisation but we know if we are a good organisation, we can move on and continue to develop.” READ MORE Basketball Ballarat immediate past president David Stuchbery said this was Mr Eddy’s legacy, to keep looking bigger picture for this community and for western Victoria both in brokering major events but in growing the grassroots game. “Peter has a capacity in identifying skills in people and developing them,” Mr Stuchbery said. “…He did this building a board from community management to a formal board and good people with good skills, not just basketball people, to take Basketball Ballarat to the next level.” Mr Stuchbery said a major strength in growing indoor sport for the region came from Mr Eddy’s domestic basketball background. He could understand clubs and was prepared to listen to them. Dennis Foley said there is sadness in watching his buddy of more than 50 years step back from the game. But he too, felt pride. They played basketball together as teenagers and set about forming their own club, which has grown into Celtic United. They were both instrumental in launching Ballarat’s elite program when basketball was considered a minor sport in the city – a program Mr Foley said was arguably the most sustainable flag-bearer in sport for the region. WATCH BELOW: When an unlikely Ballarat Miners outfit slayed Andrew Gaze’s Melbourne Tigers The inaugural Ballarat Basketball Club president said Mr Eddy’s legacy was always about far more than basketball. “He has great empathy for people…He ensured everyone was treated equally at the Minerdome,” Mr Foley said. “Peter has great persistence and it was always for a greater end benefit.” If you are seeing this message you are a loyal digital subscriber to The Courier, as we made this story available only to subscribers. Thank you very much for your support and allowing us to continue telling Ballarat’s story. We appreciate your support of journalism in our great city.


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