By Kirstie Borchers
At age 10, Kevin Foley came to realize his passion in life: Basketball. Since then, he has led a life committed to the sport.
He played all through his years of high school, then went on to play in college at Seton Hall University where he became captain of his team in his senior year.
After graduation, Foley traveled the world, playing pick-up games whenever the opportunity presented itself. When he arrived back home, ready to settle down, he was still unsure of what he was going to do next. It wasn’t until he ran into someone he highly respected, an administrator for Suffolk County Community College, that he thought about coaching students. “You owe it to the game to coach, he told me. I didn’t understand exactly what he meant just then, but now I do, he was right,” Foley reminisces. Foley then started coaching to preserve the sport, this way the players truly know the game and help keep the sport to a high standard.
“He is so much more than a basketball coach, he’s a life coach- for me and many other girls,” says Kerry Swanson, assistant head coach at Suffolk County Community College. Swanson had played for Suffolk in the ’94-’95 season with Foley as her coach, and she has since been the assistant coach.
Swanson is one of the many alumni that couldn’t stay away from Coach Foley and the team that he always formed into a family. “They always come back- during summer practices and big games,” Coach Foley says of his beloved previous players.
“He is always there for you, and the door is always open,” Swanson says. A smile appears on her face as she recalls a saying that Coach Foley always says to his girls ‘Basketball is only a dime on the back of an elephant’s ass.’
Although it’s agreed that Coach Foley has a strong competitive nature about him that he tries to instill in his players, he is a firm believer that basketball can help with off-the-court issues, ‘You have to move forward and hustle on the court and in life if you want to go far,’ is one of Coach Foley’s many mottos.
“He really impacted my life on and off the court—mostly off. He directed me to the right path in life,” Alyssa Kinney, current assistant coach and Suffolk County Community College basketball alumni says, referring to Coach Foley. “He is like my second father, we are so close,” Kinney says smiling, then continued. “My first year playing we butted heads, but then he whipped me into shape,” She laughed, thinking back. She then admitted that he has gotten a bit softer over his 25 years of coaching. “But back then, you were going to do what he said,” she said shaking her head.
Kinney, like many of Coach Foley’s girls have gone onto a four-year college to play ball. “Once you have him as your coach, you can never find someone else that amounts to him,” She says.