JIM Dudley (59) is married to Joan, with whom he has one daughter, Rachel who is a secondary school teacher and is father-in-law to Fergal who is also a secondary school teacher. His parents are Tommy and Breda and he had three siblings – Thomas, Sandra and Kimberly. Jim works as caretaker in the Holy Family Junior School and Our Lady of Mercy Senior School on Military Road in Waterford. He’s the coach of SETU’s Ladies Basketball Team and chairs the National Basketball Referees’ Association.
Life in a Day
I usually wake up at 6:30am but don’t get up until 6:45am. I am not a breakfast person so a quick shower and I am dressed and leave for work at 7:25 to try to get over the bridge before the traffic gets crazy on the Ferrybank side.
I open the school at 7:45 every morning. Every day is different in our school but it’s never boring! I finish work hopefully around 3:45pm. We usually have dinner around 6pm.
Most evenings I am involved in sport. I coach SETU’s Waterford ladies basketball team so I’m in the Arena on Mondays.
I am chairperson of the National Basketball Referees Association so am heavily involved in the development of referees during the season. I referee on at least one night per week and one day at weekends. However most of my commitment is to the development of basketball referees throughout the country. If I’m at home at night during Autumn or Winter, then I’m probably either watching sport or a series on TV.
When the basketball season finishes in April I turn to golf. I play early in the morning most weekends and on Wednesdays in the summer I try to play in the Waterford Golf Club fourball competition. I also enjoy horse racing and try to get to some evening meetings during the year.
What school did you go to?
St Joseph’s Academy in Bagenalstown in County Carlow. It was a De La Salle Brothers school. I have great memories of my time there.
What teacher do you remember most vividly?
Mr Joe Horan. I had a very bad stammer when I started secondary school and he gave me the time and confidence to overcome it. It’s amazing what influence a teacher can have on you.
What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?
If you always compare yourself to others you will never find out who you are. Be the best version of yourself you can be but most importantly be yourself.
How do you relax?
I don’t – I support Liverpool so it’s impossible to relax this year! I love basketball and referee and coach locally. I joined Waterford Golf Club during the pandemic and I love it there. The club have made me feel very welcome and although it can be an infuriating game, one good shot and suddenly you are Rory McIlroy.
What is your favourite film and piece of music?
‘The Godfather Part II’ is an amazing movie with a fabulous cast and in terms of music, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ still sends shivers up my spine – in a good way.
When was the last time you cried?
This summer at my daughter Rachel’s wedding when handing her over to her husband Fergal at the steps of the altar. I was teary for a minute I must admit.
What has been your happiest moment of recent times?
Also this summer at Rachel’s wedding. It was a fabulous couple of days. Rachel looked fantastic and everyone had a great time.
Do you pray?
Yes – but not enough. It seems to me that all religions have prayer in common so it has to have something going for it. I don’t believe that your God will or should give you everything you ask for but that He or She is like a good parent and only wants the best for you. So spending a little time in conversation with your God can’t be a bad thing.
What is your biggest fear?
Waking up without my wife Joan. She has been my best friend since the day we met. I couldn’t imagine life without her.
What is your most treasured possession?
I am not really someone who values possessions. My Dad told me years ago he has never seen a hearse with a tow-hitch. They are not as important to me as family or relationships. If I have to pick one I would say a set of Waterford Crystal shot glasses I won this year as the Captain’s Day Winners Prize in Waterford Golf Club.
What is your favourite thing about Waterford?
I moved to Waterford over 40 years ago and despite many opportunities to leave I couldn’t as I love the city. The fact that in ten minutes you can be in Dunmore East or Tramore is something we take for granted. My favourite place though is the Mercy Primary School where I work. The children are so friendly and the management and staff make it a joyous place to learn and work.
If you could change one thing about Waterford, what would it be?
I would love Waterford people to stop wishing for better things for our city and actually just go and make it better. Forget about begging for scraps from politicians. We can shop in Waterford, go to university in SETU Waterford, buy our cars in Waterford, support Waterford GAA, Waterford FC, Waterford Wildcats, Waterford Vikings – we ourselves can prioritise Waterford for everything! No one is going to hand us a better city but we have the power to make it more successful ourselves.
In conversation with Dermot Keyes