Newcastle Olympic pay tribute to driving force Jim Papas

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Northern NSW NPL club, Newcastle Olympic, were in mourning on Monday after the death of long-time former president and “driving force” Jim Papas following a long battle with leukemia.

Papas served on the Olympic committee for more than 30 years, spending two decades as president, and was granted the club’s first life membership.

He was also groundsman at the club’s home, Darling Street Oval, for more than a decade, before illness forced him to step aside.

“Jim’s contribution and legacy in making Newcastle Olympic the Club it is, was immense. He was the driving force for close to 30 years in establishing the Club to where we are today,” the Club wrote on Facebook.

Jim Papas was the Olympic club’s president in 2012. Photo: Newcastle Herald.

“To Daphne, his children, grandchildren and all the Papas & Patsan families, our deepest condolences from the Club.”

Long-time Olympic secretary, Con Gounis, told the Newcastle Herald that Papas, a former player with the now defunct local club Pan-Hellenic in the 1960s and 70s, joined the new Greek club’s committee in the mid-1980s when they were in fourth division.

He became president in the early 1990s, around the time of the club’s rapid rise to the top division.

Mr Gounis said Papas was instrumental in helping the club build the required grandstand and lighting at Darling Street Oval for their elevation to the top league.

“We needed the grandstand and better lights and basically Jim was the project manager, the driving force, the boilermaker, along with a half-a-dozen guys,” Mr Gounis told the media outlet.

Mr Gounis said Papas was a fierce protector of his club and the ground he helped build and maintain.

“He had his opinions and he wasn’t scared to say them,” he said.

Papas’ grandson, Reece Papas, has played first-grade with the club in recent years.

Source: Newcastle Herald.

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