2016-02-17 / Features

Carolyn O’Connell, Youth ‘Hoopster’ Coach

Community and youth activists are mourning the passing of well-liked Astoria youth basketball coach, Carol O’Connell, who turned dozens of local amateur hoopsters into Queens and citywide champions.

O’Connell, 71, coached youth basketball at the Variety Boys & Girls Club in Astoria from 2006 to 2013, where she managed “countless boys’ traveling teams” in championship games sponsored by the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) at Christ The King Regional Catholic High School in Middle Village, Matthew Troy, Executive Director of the Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens told the Gazette.

O’Connell “left an indelible mark on the landscape of basketball in Astoria and Queens,” Troy said. “Our dear friend will be sorely missed.”

O’Connell passed away on February 12, following complications involving an infection.

The Variety Boys & Girls Club of Astoria honored O’Connell with a moment of silence at a basketball tournament held at the club on February 12 and 13.

“Miss Carol will be remembered by those who achieved success by taking her advice to work hard, study and walk away from trouble,” local leader George Stamatiades said. “Miss Carol will also be remembered by those who failed to take her advice – and who wish they had,” he added. “Her memory will remain eternal for those whose lives she touched, and will be reflected in the success of future generations.”

Funeral services for O’Connell were held on February 16 at the Quinn Funeral Home in Astoria.—Liz Goff

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