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Stalwarts' outstanding service honoured

Four Greater Shepparton Basketball Association stalwarts have been honoured with life memberships at a presentation on Tuesday night.

PATRICK O'MEARA November 16, 2012 4:20am

Tony Long, Deenie and Keith Rensford and Russell Parker have all been awarded life membership to Greater Shepparton Basketball Association.

Four Greater Shepparton Basketball Association stalwarts have been honoured with life memberships at a presentation on Tuesday night.

Inaugural Shepparton Gators championship coach Russell Parker, jack of all trades Tony Long and long-serving referees Keith and Deenie Rensford.

Irene Young, who has been a key player in the administration for more than 35 years, said all four were well-deserving recipients of life membership.

‘‘It is something that is probably long overdue,’’ Young said.

‘‘It is something that we have maybe overlooked, pushed back, but it is great that we can finally recognise all of them for their massive contribution to basketball in Shepparton and Mooroopna.’’

She said Parker and Long were passionate coaches and had left an indelible mark.

‘‘Russell Parker has been involved with basketball for as long as I have,’’ she said.

‘‘He is mainly on the coaching side of things and he has certainly been very successful at that.

‘‘Then Tony is just Tony.

‘‘He is basketball through and through, he just loves it.

‘‘He is just so passionate about it.

‘‘He gets like a bull at a gate and he won’t back down from what he thinks is right.

‘‘They have both done so much for basketball.’’

Young said the Rensfords had been incredible servants of the association.

‘‘They are always willing to fill in when someone drops out from a refereeing role,’’ she said.

‘‘They are always eager to help out and they are lovely people to go with it.’’

She said their ability to wear criticism through their 30-plus years of refereeing was amazing.

‘‘How they have done it for so many years, I have no idea,’’ Young said.

‘‘They just keep doing their job, they don’t get worried about it too much.’’

All four’s resumes speak for themselves.

Parker started as a player at Mooroopna, before moving into coaching junior squads.

He was the inaugural coach of the GV Giants, before leading the Gators in two separate stints winning four championships.

Long has done it all — be it player, coach, referee or administrator.

He has a long background coaching junior representative sides and has coached both the Shepparton Lady Gators and the men’s team also.

Long has also served as a tournament director for a significant period.

The Rensfords have refereed for more than 30 years and have also been coaches.

One of their key roles has been as mentors to junior referees.

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