Joey Monaghan will be remembered as a basketball player at Pennsbury, but for those who knew him, he was so much more.
"Joey was just one of those people who did the right thing," Pennsbury girls' basketball coach Frank Sciolla said. "He was strong in his faith and never had a negative thing to say about anyone.
"And he was so giving of his time and energy. As a coach, you want your kids to be great teammates and want them to compete and give everything they have and that's what Joey did. As a parent, you want your son or daughter to treat people with respect and be kind and he was all of that."
The 24-year-old Monaghan, a 2017 Pennsbury graduate, was diagnosed over the summer with a rare and aggressive form of cancer, metastatic sarcoma, in his back. He died last Thursday.
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"I've been coaching AAU basketball a long time and I never coached anybody like Joey," said Mike McFadden, the coach of Philly Heat North. "His nickname was 'Gentleman Joe' and nobody ever said a bad word about him. I started coaching him with the Pennsbury travel team when he was in sixth grade and he was just one of those kids that worked and worked and worked to keep getting better."
Monaghan would go on to play for Pennsbury and then continued his basketball career at Marywood University. Monaghan graduated college in December and was working in ticket sales for the Philadelphia 76ers.
"He played for me up until his junior year of high school and for him it was always only about the team," McFadden said. "I never ran a play for him, but he would get his six to eight points a game and dive for every loose ball. Every team that wins has a player like Joey on it."
Monaghan recently had joined with McFadden as an assistant coach with Philly Heat North, a girls' team made up of high schoolers.
"The girls just loved him and he was so positive and just made them feel like things were always going in the right direction," McFadden said.
Sciolla, like everyone else, just wished Monaghan had been given more time.
"It's just brutally unfair," said Sciolla, whose daughter, Ava, played AAU basketball with a younger sister of Monaghan's. "We always talk about a life well-lived and maximizing your time here and here is someone in Joey who did everything right, just turned only 24, and then doesn't get that opportunity. It's just very sad."
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While basketball was his passion, there was so much more to Monaghan.
"He was just one of those kids that everybody liked and wanted to be around," Pennsbury head football coach Galen Snyder said. "I taught him in class (Social Studies) and you just rooted for him because you knew he was going to do well in the future. This is just a terrible, tragic thing to have happen and he is going to be missed."
A viewing is scheduled for Friday at Dougherty Funeral Home on Trenton Road in Levittown from 4 to 8 p.m. and a funeral mass is set for Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at St. Ignatius Church on Reading Avenue in Yardley.
"There will be so many people there because Joey was such a great kid," McFadden said. "He was so young, but he touched so many people in such a positive way."
Drew Markol: firstname.lastname@example.org; @dmarkol
This article originally appeared on Bucks County Courier Times: Monaghan to be missed by Pennsbury community.