Bill Coman – Life Member – 2013
On the 8th November 2019 I was informed by Ben Coman of the unfortunate passing of one of the wise men and pillars of Waimea Old Boys, Bill Coman.
Bill was a Club Stalwart, Supporter and Sponsor in his later years and was a driving force in the success of the club in his earlier years. I would even suggest he was a legend in his own right
Bills association stems back many years.
In 1952, Bill was a member of a Waimea Old Boys Senior team that won the Nelson Senior Championship, The Moller Cup. This team was classed by many as not having a lot of stars but a having an abundance of determination.
I am sure that Bill would fit the description of determination and would also be one of the stars of that team.
That determination was displayed again later on in Bill’s life around 1990 if my memory serves me correctly, when Bill was having heart problems.
Bill had stents inserted and his determination and the blessing those stents must have received, have seen him 29 years later, reach the age of 87 years.
Many here would remember the Old Sports hall, the scene of many a good party, JAB Bunfights and Club functions and the precursor to our clubrooms today. History records the significant work in 1952 that Bill did in organising the voluntary labour for this project.
In 1958 Bill can lay claim to fame of being Coach and Captain of Waimea Old Boys Seniors, again winning the Nelson Championship and the Moller Cup.
Bill represented our Club with distinction at representative level and in that same year, 1958, Bill was Captain of the successful Nelson Representative Seddon Shield Challenge Team.
Bill is also recorded in Waimea history as one of two club names that epitomise the qualities of unselfishness and willingness.
In 1952 Bill was prepared to play in any position to help his team out and he played in every position except lock and halfback. For his efforts that season he was awarded the Jubilee Cup.
Bill was also very much involved in administration of the club after his playing and Coaching career ended, always giving back.
In 1990 after reading through the history of Waimea Old Boys it became rather obvious that Bill Coman should have been honoured a long time ago.
A resume’ was prepared and I approached Bill to ask his permission to put his name forward for life membership.
Much to my dismay Bill declined but was appreciative of the intentions.
In 2013 Bill finally accepted the honour of Life Membership for Waimea Old Boys, something that is not given lightly. A thoroughly deserved recipient who should have been a life member some 40 plus years earlier.
Something I will never forget and epitomises Bills philosophies was the time, he was approached to in 1989 to give his advice on a Club Trophy that was not being presented correctly.
Bill supplied the correct and required information and stated that he did not believe in trophies as it was a team game, not one for individuals, however he said that is rugby.
The Senior teams since that year have never had a “Player of the Day” as such, which is something I am sure Bill would have approved off.
Bill earlier this year voiced his opinion to me that the Senior team took too long to shower after the games and he didn’t like having to wait around for the team to arrive so that the after match speeches could progress.
I respected Bill and did not want to offend him but the truth of the matter and the reason the team took so long was because of his own grandsons and the time they took.
Bill also had a chicken processing plant on the old freezing works site which employed a number of nameless Waimea players. Nameless because many households that those persons belonged to had many a free roast chicken. Thank you Bill on behalf of those guys.
Bill will always be part of our Clubs history and as I have said many a time his name and that of the Coman family as a whole will ensure that our club is successful long into the future.
We are indebted to the legacy that Bill has left and we extend our Condolences and Sympathies to the entire Coman family.
There will be many Club Members Players and supporters alike who will be saddened by Bills passing but his memory will live on.
Bill you and your wisdom will be sincerely missed.
A True and Passionate Waimea Man
Zane L. Beloe
Life Member/ Past President
Waimea Old Boys R.F.C. (Inc.)