Merv Emms’ legacy to Australian basketball is a diverse one. In almost 60 years of service to the game, Merv has held a number of positions in the sport, helping to develop basketball in Country NSW initially, and later in the Oceania region.
In 1948 Merv qualified as a State referee and was a Technical Official at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. He co-founded the Lithgow Basketball Association in 1946 and coached the Lithgow team, leading it to six straight NSW Country Championships from 1953-1958. During that time Merv also coached the NSW U16 and U18 teams, winning seven titles out of 10 national finals appearances. Today ‘The Merv Emms Trophy’ is the prize for the Australian U18 Men’s Champions.
Country Secretary of Basketball NSW from 1952-62, Merv facilitated the growth of NSW regional associations from seven to 70 and following his retirement, continued to make regular visits to the nations of the Oceania region to conduct coaching clinics and advise on administration and development of game officials.
A State and National Selector of representative teams, Merv continued to contribute across a number of areas in the sport, co-founding the NSW State Coaches Association before his talent for architectural drawing led him to be appointed as Stadium Development Advisor for Basketball NSW in 1977. A decade earlier, Emms had been responsible for the design of Alexandria Basketball Stadium.
As an example of the important role that grass-roots volunteers have held in the growth of the sport, Merv Emms is worthy of a place in the Australian Basketball Hall of Fame.