Gym named for longtime youth hoops coach Ray Elias


From this day forward, the gym at Westport Elementary School will go by the name Ray Elias Gym.

That was the recent decision of the Westport School Committee which voted unanimously two weeks ago to honor long-time instructional league basketball coach Raymond Elias.

Mr. Elias is stepping down was a volunteer coach/instructor with the youth basketball league or a quarter century.

The dedication became official in ceremonies held Saturday at the middle school on the occasion day that Mr. Elias would coach his final game. At the event, a naming plaque was revealed — on it are the gym's new name along with, "There are not enough ways to thank you for your dedication to our children."

"I am beyond honored," Mr. Elias told the crowd, according to the Lees website. "The children were always the most important thing; it should be named after them. It was never about whether or not we win or lose, it was to take the experience and learn from it.

“I've seen many changes take place since this all began. I just always wanted to make basketball a better experience in Westport. The most important thing I ever tried to instill was that school, family and church always came before basketball. If I have any lasting message it's that even if you don't become an NBA player, you can still be a great citizen. I'm so tremendously honored. Nothing tops this for me."

For his day job, Mr. Elias works at Lees Market where he has held just about every job there is including manager and, his present post, head of receiving, a store spokesman said.

Longtime friend Al Lees said, "“Well done and well deserved! I’ve known Ray for over 40 years as a friend and co-worker and there is no one who embodies the spirit of our community more than him. Congratulations Ray — my father would be, and I am so proud of you.”


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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.