A friend of a friend-Billy Hughes-Billy Furey-June 24

One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about “friends of my friends”. The post below is the story for June 24, 2015.

My goal in 2015 is to learn or get re-acquainted with 365 people and doing a daily post on the “the friend of a friend” is helping me get closer to my goal.

On the drive around the campus of East Carolina yesterday I reflected a lot on college and have to say I had moments when I looked at my son Mack and was envious. I wished there was a way I could go back and live the 6 years I spent at ECU earning my two degrees. I felt like Matt Leinart, Heath Shuler, and “The Boz” from their DISH TV commercial “take me with you”.


Another part of my drives led me to parts of campus that had gone under change. The face lifts to the residence halls on the hill. The addition of the dining hall on the hill and the removal of Belk Residencepce Hall were two big changes. Belk will be replaced with a new modern residence hall called Gateway. When I thought of Belk Hall it made me reminisce about my roommate during my Senior Year Billy Furey.

As I entered my senior year at ECU I was the student manager and Assistant Coach for the ECU JV basketball team who would only play a 5-6 game schedule including the Mt Olive Pickle Classic which was played at North Duplin HS. Since I was part of the basketball team I was assigned a room in one of the two suites in Belk Hall. The suites had 4 rooms each with each room having two roommates. My roommate was a freshman named Billy “The Kid” Furey from Long Island, NY.

Billy got his nickname from Gregg Ashorn another senior on the basketball team and it stuck. Gregg gave everyone nicknames including two other seniors Donnie “Jive” Owens and Tom “Brace” Marsh. Gregg was from Cincinnatti Ohio and came to ECU from North Greenville Junior College. Gregg has spent time coaching and teaching at North Pitt High School. Tom Marsh went on to become a faculty member and part-time coach at Pitt Community College in Greenville or if you want to get technically Winterville, NC.

Billy Furey and I got along but he was new to campus and I had been friends with guys on the basketball team for three years. We did some things together but also had seperate friends. One of those friends of Billy’s was also from New York and his name was Billy Hughes. Billy Furey got a lot of us on thit e basketball team acquainted with him and he became part of our group.

The Friend-BILLY FUREY-shown on the right


The Friend of a Friend – BILLY HUGHES and his green Impala


New York State of Mind in North Carolina

I got an email from Billy Furey a couple of years ago and he told me that Billy Hughes had died. Not sure of the circumstances but it was sad news to me. Billy Hughes even though he wasn’t on the basketball team at ECU he was part of the team’s circle of friends which meant eventually Gregg Ashorn was going to tag him with a nickname. His was “”Snappy” for his quick responses in typical New York fashion about any topic. Like all of Ashorn’s nicknames it stuck.

Billy was a character. He once wagered he could drink a case of beer in four hours. He drank the beer but then slept it off for 20 hours. Billy had a Chevrolet Impala that had a spray point job that’s color could best be described as “Crayola Green”. It was hideous but that car could be spotted all over Greenville, NC. That car also took a few of us to Daytona for our spring break after basketball season was over.

Billy Hughes was also generous because in spite of my pleas with ECU to assign me somewhere close for my student teaching in 1975 I was assigned to LaGrange, NC and I did not have a car. Billy let me use his Impala the entire quarter. I made quite impression on the town folks in LaGrange each morning as I rolled into town with Snappy’s Impala and New York plates.

As I glanced around the campus parking lots on campus I realized that the students today will never see Snappy’s home paint job on that Impala. That’s a memory I have and there is no need to have my son take me with him. I will leave him to make his own memories.


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