Basketball Pacific’s premier event, the Easter Tournament was renamed to the Mel Young Easter Classic in 2016, to honour the dedication and work of Mel Young in providing oportunities for everyone involved in the basketball game.
Mel forged a number of crucial relationships with like-minded basketball organisations, which today now give Players/Coachers/Managers and Referees opportunities to attend events such as the Koru Tour and the Jamboree in Australia. In 2004 I was lucky enough to attend the Koru tour and play alongside Tom Abercrombie, Corey Webster and Alex Pledger. I am thankful to Mel for such opportunities, we can also be thankful for Mel for helping create countless more opportunities for our kids which still exist to this day.
Mel Young was never renowned for his height standing only a mere 172cm in height, his flaming red hair and passion on the basketball court made up for smaller stature, Mel was most definitely larger than life.
Mel was a Giant in the basketball scene in Hamilton but when he was younger he played a variety of sports and only started playing basketball in his later years. Rugby, cricket and athletics had been his chosen sports at school and later he played on the wing for Hamilton Old Boys, and senior cricket for Hamilton Star.
He discovered basketball soon after becoming a teacher at St John’s College. He was a player, referee, then a world renowned successful coach, he also was a gun at being an administrator.
Sometimes in life our giants and our heroes fall. Mel died on Wednesday August 5 2015 following a long battle with cancer. Mel was most definitely too young, he was only 67.
Mel was a former vice president of Basketball New Zealand, president of the New Zealand Basketball Referees Association, a life member of Basketball New Zealand, and Oceania representative on the International Basketball Federation Youth Commission. If you ask me the man’s work ethic can not be matched and his passing was most definitely felt in the basketball world.
Mel served on FIBA’s Youth Commission for several years where he advocated strongly for New Zealand to join the Asian competition zone. His voice helped achieve that goal and from 2016 our New Zealand age group teams have had the opportunity to test themselves against the best in Asia and New Zealand. Teams now regularly compete in FIBA’s age group World Cup events – a fantastic opportunity for our best young players.
In 1996 Mel had one of his most esteemed basketball moments of his career when he coached the St John’s premier team to a title in the New Zealand secondary schools basketball Nationals.
Mel was relentless, he coached many local teams including Waikato age group teams (U13, U15, U17, U20). Mel won two titles as the coach of a Waikato U20s teams.
Mel was born in Wellington on October 26, 1947, to Nan and Trevor Young (a World War II navalman, later a Hamilton businessman). Mel attended Vardon Primary School, and was a prefect at Fairfield College.
Mel attended Waikato University where he graduated with a Masters degree in education and a Diploma in Computer Education.
We will remember him.
Gone but not forgotten.
This year the Mel Young Easter Classic returns to the sunshine city of Tauranga after having to cancel last year’s tournament due to the Covid-19 global pandemic. Over 145 teams have entered in this year’s Classic and I can tell you it’s set to be the biggest and most popular tournament the 30 year long annual event has ever produced.
I’ll see you all there!
Article Source – Roy Burke
In loving Memory Of Melvyn Robert (Mel) Young, 1947-2015