Hoops Club creates scholarship honoring late basketball coach


Joseph Cordes was Lynbrook basketball’s biggest supporter. He died unexpectedly on Jan. 17, and now the Hoops Club is honoring his memory the best way they know how — by starting a scholarship in his name.

“You feel a little helpless,” said Emily Van Ingen, treasurer of the Hoops Club. The organization is a nonprofit that benefits the players, parents and coaches of Lynbrook’s basketball program.

“There’s not a whole lot you can do, concretely. I thought this could be one thing that we could really do to remember Joe, and just honor his commitment to young people and his commitment to basketball and Lynbrook. So we started this scholarship.”

Throughout his years coaching CYO basketball at St. Raymond’s R.C. Church, in East Rockaway, Cordes coached countless boys in the neighborhood, including his own sons, Max and Cooper. But he was more than a coach — he was a fan.

“My husband was driven and enthusiastic about everything he did,” Alison Cordes, Joseph’s wife, said. She is also the president of th Hoops Club. “But there was nothing he was more passionate about than Max and Cooper’s athletics, most importantly basketball.

“To have this scholarship program creatLyned in his name is an amazing honor and one that I know he would be very proud of.”

There are so many ways to honor Cordes’ memory, Van Ingen said — he was a retired police officer, a husband, a father. But as a nonprofit basketball organization, the perfect way for the Hoops Club to honor such a fan of the game is with a scholarship in dedication to him.

“He really was just a very fierce supporter,” Van Ingen said. “He was at all of the games, always in the stands, always supporting the boys and the team. Whether it was a home game or an away game, he just really loved the sport, really loved watching his sons and their friends play.

“(He) was just a really committed dad who wanted to show up and be there for his kids, and the other boys in the neighborhood who were playing with them.”

A $500 scholarship will be awarded to two graduating seniors — one boy and one girl — each year. The award will be given out during the senior awards dinner every spring.

The Hoops Club put out a flyer on social media to raise money for the scholarship. Nothing huge — just a couple paragraphs explaining the scholarship, and giving a link to donate.

They raised more than $10,000 in a couple of weeks.

It’s a testament to how many lives Cordes touched, and how many people cared about him. He was a man who valued truth and respect — he was compassionate, always defended the underdog, and gave a tremendous amount of love to his family and friends alike, Alison Cordes said. People wanted a way to honor his memory, and show their support for the Cordes family,. This scholarship fund was the perfect outlet.

Hoops Club officers will collaborate with coaches and the Cordes family to select the annual recipients. While the specific qualifications will be solidified soon, one is for certain — the recipient should be a “champion for the game.” Because that’s exactly what Cordes was.

“Both of his boys were committed, talented basketball players,” Van Ingen said. “And it just felt like, coming from the Hoops Club, it was a really good tribute to someone who spent a lot of time and had a real deep love for the game.”

The money raised will already keep the Joseph Cordes scholarship going for the next decade, and it will help 20 future Lynbrook seniors who shared Cordes’ passion for basketball. But a decade, still, doesn’t measure up to Cordes’ impact on the community. The Hoops Club hopes to keep the scholarship going in perpetuity.

“We hope to continue to raise money for a long time, so that we can continue to give these scholarships for a long time,” Van Ingen said. “And we can continue to remember and appreciate what Joe Cordes was for Lynbrook and Lynbrook basketball.”

Those looking to donate to the Joseph Cordes Scholarship fund can visit tinyurl.com/CordesDonate.