Coach volunteers daylight to dark giving kids a safe place to play basketball

Coach Bill Irvin with his Etowah Youth Basketball team. (Image: WTVC)

The Etowah Youth Basketball League has been around for decades.

So has the man who volunteers from daylight to dark giving kids a safe place to play.

In this week's Pay It Forward, Jessica Harthorn surprises him on the court.

Since the late 90's, you'll hear Bill Irvin's bellowing voice from the basketball court.

Not only does he run the Etowah Youth Basketball League, he coaches, refs, even buys the snacks for the concession stand.

But its teaching the players life skills that has him coming back year after year.

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On a typical Saturday in Etowah, the stands are packed with parents at the community gym.

Basketball players from pre-school to 8th grade run up and down the court learning teamwork and determination.

13-year-old Elissa Earls has been playing since she was four.

"We all have good sportsmanship, share the ball well and get along well," said Elissa.

Elissa's Mother Jackie, says the league has taught her daughter life skills too.

"She has learned to communicate better on the court, she's met people she would never meet if it wasn't for basketball," said Jackie.

Jackie says money collected from the league has paid for a new court floor, ceiling lights and uniforms at the local school.

"He loves the kids, absolutely loves them," said Jackie.

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At half time, Jackie walked us out on the court, where the kids have learned so much, to surprise the man who's gave it his all for more than two decades.

"On behalf of the McMahan Law Firm and Newschannel 9, we want to Pay It Forward. One, two, three, four, $500. Thank you for all you do here," surprised Jackie.

"I don't know what to say. Thank you all," said Coach Irvin.

"I want these kids to learn self-confidence, to be able to do something they are passionate about," said Coach Irvin.

Coach Irvin says life isn't about winning or losing, but learning that perseverance and hard work will eventually pay off.

Do you know someone who deserves $500 cash for volunteering? Nominate them here.

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