New Orleans Remembers Friend
As a Globetrotter, Hobley traveled around the world, even participating in a 1996 ceremony with Nelson Mandela in Pretoria, South Africa in which Mandela was made an honorary Globetrotter. Hobley returned to Dillard University in 1998 as assistant men's basketball coach and became the interim head coach the next season. In 2000 Hobley was named head coach, and compiled a 22-11 record and guided the team to the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference championship. Hobley left Dillard University in 2001 to spend time with his family and work with his foundation, the Billy Ray Hobley Foundation, which focuses on programs for children. Hobley's ability to motivate children caught the attention of a local filmmaker Steve Scaffida, who earlier this week finished production of an inspirational film starring Hobley. On September 12, 2002, the Pan American Life Center will showcase the film in Hobley's honor.
Hobley was more than just a ballplayer, he was a magician, a comedian, and a youth leader. As a guest speaker on numerous tours with the DEA New Orleans Field Division, Demand Reduction Coordinator (DRC) Michael Streicher, Mobley mesmerized students with his skillful antics and recruited volunteers from audience to teach them the importance of believing in themselves. He would keep them captivated with his fast, flick-of-the-wrist moves that sent the red-white-and-blue ball spinning, flying and bouncing in front of their eyes. It was in rare form to see his entertain and educate.
In 1993, DRC Michael Streciher met Hobley while traveling and speaking at various schools and community groups throughout the New Orleans Field Division. Hobley, DRC Streicher, and other representatives of the DEA often spoke to a host of students, parents, and various community groups about demand reduction efforts and the danger of drug abuse. As a team, Hobley and the DEA's representatives were frequently sought out to provide demand reduction training or address DEA and non-DEA audiences. Hobley formed an organization called A.S.K., a non-profit group with the goal of helping youth through inspiration, role modeling and basketball. He explained the acronym like this: Ask question (to direct you); Seek answers (to educate you); Know truths (to guide and protect you).
His wife, Mattie; a daughter, Rochelle, 18 years of age; and a son, Billy Ray Jr. survives Hobley, 11 years of age.
Hobley was buried in his hometown of Quincy, Florida where he played high school basketball at the James A. Shanks High School.
Billy Ray Hobley will be missed by the DEA community and the students and parents whose lives he touched and influenced.