League immortalizes legend

Beacon Falls resident Doug Moffat is pictured with his granddaughter, Hannah, in December following a game of the former Beacon Falls Basketball League. The league was renamed the Douglas Moffat Basketball League in honor of Moffat. –CONTRIBUTED

BEACON FALLS — Anyone who grew up in Beacon Falls over the last 40 years, probably has a memory about Doug Moffat. And it probably makes them smile to this day.

And the people who run the youth basketball league in Beacon Falls want to make sure they never forget him.

The league was recently renamed after Moffat, who spearheaded the effort to rejuvenate youth basketball in town. A lifelong dedication to the youth in town led the powers that be at the Beacon Falls Basketball League to change the league’s name to the Douglas Moffat Basketball League.

“He’s a legend in town,” said Tom Deegan, the league president who led the campaign to change the name of the league to honor Moffat. “We wanted to make sure it happened.”

Moffat did a little of everything to keep the league vibrant. He coached, refereed and served as an administrator.

“It was an honor to be honored by the kids,” Moffat said. “I’m not one to want to be honored. I’d like to stand in the background.”

A father of four with over 40 nieces and nephews, Moffat spent the better part of 34 years watching them grow up and come through the league.

For Moffat, it’s about giving kids a unique experience — even leading up to his marriage.  Before they were married, his wife Beth was his first scorekeeper.

On their wedding day in 1974, the Moffats went through a line of bats held by local Little Leaguers as they exited the Beacon Falls Congregational Church on Wolfe Avenue. Moffat was a master at creating memories.

Moffat remembered the guy who got him and his buddies in the gym — literally. Russ Brown would open the gym for kids back in the 1960s, and that experience led to the formation of a league.

Moffat, and his friend Bobby Koerber, got the league going in the 1970s. The league combined Moffat’s love for sports with the children in town.

“We really didn’t have a league, and in the early 1970s, we asked the town, they gave us permission and it just got bigger and bigger,” Moffat explained.

Moffat, who retired last year from a long career at Laurel Ledge School, spent his working life around children as the custodian who everyone knew.

“The kids in the school were my job,” Moffat said. “I tried to get to know every kid and every family.”

Moffat knew kids, and eventually, years later, knew their kids. The league became a place where life came full circle.

“It’s great watching the kids go through the league, and come back to run the league, coach or referee,” Moffat said.

His involvement went beyond the practices and games. It was about getting kids to enjoy the experience.

“You would hope all coaches were like him,” Deegan said of Moffat. “He was one of the guys who fostered the love of sports in many of us.”

Moffat was honored in December at his granddaughter Hannah’s game. A symbolic and thoughtful gesture for a man who created positive memories for decades.

He hopes the league keeps churning out memories for years to come.

“I would like to thank all the people who have worked hard to keep the league running all these years,” Moffat said. “They’re keeping the league going and that’s all that matters to me.”