After the Buzzer: The Coffey Club


The independent era of basketball was defned by its affliations. The Avalon Volunteer Fire Department, the Carnegie Library of Homestead, the East Liberty YMCA, and the Westinghouse Air Brake Company all produced competitive basketball teams in the frst quarter of the 20th century. So did the towns of Beaver Falls, Kittanning, New Kensington, and Sharon. Some teams, by the nature of their primary affliation, also had an implicit, secondary affliation. The Loendi Five was sponsored by an African American social and literary club called the Loendi Club. It was also understood to be a “black team.” The greatest “Jewish team” in Western Pennsylvania during this era was the Coffey Club, and competition was ferce enough for the distinction to matter. The Zionist Institute, the Irene Kaufmann Settlement House, and the Young Men’s Hebrew Association all sponsored good basketball programs, as did independent Jewish outfts like the Dinwiddie Club, the Franklin Club and, after World War I, the Enoch Rauh Club, the Second Story Morrys, and several others. The student body at Central High School was disproportionately Jewish in those years, and often its basketball team was as well. 

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