This week we lost another Whyalla Basketball legend.
Ray Williamson, a legend of the Whyalla Basketball Association and the Spartans basketball Club, passed away in Tasmania, aged 59.
Ray began playing basketball as a 13 – 14 year old back when junior basketball first started in Whyalla. He played all of his junior career and early senior with YMCA. In around 1976 YMCA changed its name to Spartans and then in 2003 Spartans combined with Robinettes and became Titans.
Ray played in the dominant Spartans men’s A grade side of the 1980’s, when the side won multiple Whyalla A grade premierships as well as several Pt. Augusta A grade premierships. Ray was a Mens A grade MVP winner in 1986.
Ray was also a great coach, putting many hours into junior basketball. He coached Spartans Men’s A grade, Women’s A grade, Whyalla Steeler’s under 14’s, 16’s and under 18 girls and was an Assistant coach for SA Country under 16 girls at the National Championships in the mid 80’s.
Ray and his beautiful wife Anna, had a daughter Katrina, in 1988 and left Whyalla a few years later when Ray won a job in Wollongong where Ray continued his love of basketball.
Their daughter Katrina represented NSW Country basketball as an under 18.
At one stage, for a period of a few years, Ray was a part owner of the Illawarra / Wollongong Hawks NBL team.
Even after relinquishing his part ownership of the team, Ray maintained involvement. A major sponsor of the team had no real understanding of basketball, so appointed Ray as an observer / interpreter of the team’s performance, where Ray would watch all the teams matches and then report on their performance to that sponsor.
In recent years Ray and Anna had moved from Wollongong to Tasmania, while Katrina had worked in marketing the UK.
Most of this us written from memory of Ray as a friend, business partner, a basketball opponent and sometimes team mate, and a great guy. Sincere apologies for any slight inaccuracies.