It’s fitting that Craig Gibbs and Andrew van Baaren, who have spent over 60 years of combined time with the Warrnambool Volleyball Association, that they be honoured for their long service together.
The pair were honoured for their hard work and dedication to the South West Pirates by being recognised as life members of the association last week.
“I’m very humbled to be inducted as a life member,” Gibbs said.
“It’s an honour to join such a long list of life members,” van Baaren said.
“I’m just really humbled by the whole experience I have had with the pirates.”
Gibbs (35 Years) and van Baaren (32 years) have filled various roles within the association, from players, to coaches, to committee members.
Gibbs is currently vice president of the association, while van Baaren is the women’s coach and is a member of the committee.
“I started back in 1982 as a player and have been in many different roles from coach all the way to committee member,” Gibbs said.
“I don’t think there is a role I haven’t done.”
Gibbs became part of the committee when he was only 17 and has coached at both junior and senior levels within the association.
For van Baaren, he arrived as a player and branched off from there.
“In 1985 I arrived in Warrnambool from Melbourne and instantly joined up to play volleyball,” he said.
“From there I had some really good years as a player, and then became a coach and then joined the committee.
“Now I’m juggling being women’s coach and part of the committee and I am really enjoying it.”
Gibbs and van Baaren both arrived in the 80’s and enjoyed successful playing years as individuals, teammates and opposition.
Gibbs collected two Best and Fairest awards in 1989 and 1994 and also played seven years at state and national level.
van Baaren won in 1998 and he also became a state level coach after playing.
Both men have coached the association together and by themselves and found it touching to share another fond memory together.
“I’m very happy to share this moment with Craig,” van Baaren said.
“It’s fitting that Roo (van Baaren) and I get to become life members together,” Gibbs said.
“We both arrived at the same time, we both put in so much dedication for the association and both get to become life members together, it’s a really great memory.”