Leigh Gibbs is set to become the new Nelson Netball Centre manager. Photo: Supplied.

World champion to lead Nelson Netball

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Nelson Netball has landed a major coup in the form of a former Silver Ferns coach and captain.

Leigh Gibbs, a gold medalist and world champion, is now set to take the helm of Nelson Netball.

Leigh will be the new centre manager for Nelson Netball from early 2021.

She has served as assistant coach for the Silver Ferns when the team won a gold medal at both the Commonwealth Games and the World Championships in 2003 and 2006 and a silver medal at the same two competitions in 2002 and 2007.

She is a former Silver Ferns captain and vice-captain and won the World Championships as a player in 1979 and 1987.

She also coached the Mainland Tactix from 2012-2014.

Currently working in Brisbane for Netball Queensland, Leigh says the opportunity came up at the right time when she was looking to come home to New Zealand.

The new role tempted her because it is a challenge she hasn’t yet taken on in her storied career.

“Nelson has one of the country’s most active netball centres with high participation rates in community netball.”

Leigh says it has been smartly managed and is financially stable, given the effects of Covid-19 on sport around the world.

“When I thought about what step I wanted to take next in my career, the idea of managing a centre where community netball was at the heart and I could oversee everything from A-Z was extremely appealing.”

Leigh has been in charge of coaching, officiating, among other areas but has never had her hands on “the big picture”.

“My exposure to the larger Australian system has really given me great insight into how another leading netball nation’s systems can inform best practice for the sport both locally and nationally.”

Nelson Netball Centre board chair Gary Cox says Nelson is fortunate to have someone of Leigh’s calibre leading the way and she is going to help Nelson become an even stronger centre within the national system.

Leigh is scheduled to return to New Zealand in January when she will enter mandated quarantine facility before moving to Nelson to begin the role.