Warwickshire Basketball and JM Grizzlies members are reeling following the untimely passing of the Warwick Club’s Coach Ian A’Kempis. Ian had been actively involved in our sport for some thirty years and died suddenly at his home on 31st March after suffering with a long-term illness.
His cremation took place last Thursday and was attended by a small number of family members in accordance with COVID-19 Government instructions. Warwickshire Basketball Chairman Mike Maddox said, “Coming so soon after the death of his friend, colleague and Grizzlies co-founder John Mumford, it is a devastating blow to hear of Ian’s passing, and our thoughts at this time are with his family, friends and fellow members at the Club.”
Grizzlies’ Club Captain Gareth Langman commented, “In his 30 plus years of being part of Warwickshire Basketball, Ian gave his hard work, time, effort and often blood sweat and tears into playing, coaching and managing of the JM Grizzlies (formally Warwick Bears and Grizzlies) in both their senior and youth teams. Ian was an excellent coach, mentor, and a fantastic role model to every player he worked with. Ian personified the spirit of the game, and he will be greatly missed by the entirety of the JM Grizzlies, and the countless numbers of previous players he coached and mentored through his time in the basketball community.
One of Warwickshire Basketball’s senior match referees Richard Jones said he was absolutely stunned by the very sad news, adding that he always got on well with Ian and had refereed his YBL team as well as in the Warwickshire League. He said he was always approachable as a coach and had contributed hugely to basketball in the Area and will be sorely missed by the Grizzlies and those of us fortunate to have known him.
A Memorial service will be organised at a date to be confirmed in order to commemorate Ian’s life and the immense input he had on basketball in this area.
REST IN PEACE IAN – YOU WILL BE GREATLY MISSED.