Local netball has a new national coach.
The Cayman Islands Netball Association confirmed it has hired Andrea Gumbs as its technical director. Gumbs, 48, hails from the borough of Halton in the Northwest of England and brings decades of experience, having worked with England’s netball program. Among her prior duties was netball coordinator on the Halton Sports Partnership Executive Committee. The partnership, established in 2002, is an initiative of Halton Borough Council to boost sports in the region and secure funding. Gumbs says her appointment in Cayman is a welcome change of pace.
“It’s a dream job because my passion is netball,” Gumbs said. “I love it so much.”
Gumbs, who arrived in Cayman late last month, has said her goals here include increasing Cayman’s international standing, setting up junior clubs and establishing more volunteer coaches and umpires.
The association gave a brief rundown of her netball background, which include various English certifications for coaching and umpiring. In addition to her efforts with the Halton partnership, Gumbs coached at the University of Liverpool and The Merseyside Academy.
Association vice president Lyneth Monteith says Gumbs, who is also a yoga practioner in her spare time, will adjust to Cayman life quickly.
“Ms. Gumbs has traveled and worked in the Caribbean and brings her considerable experience to her new post,” Monteith said. “The association and the netball fraternity welcomes Ms. Gumbs to Cayman.”
Gumbs made headlines recently by running the 2014 London Marathon, raising funds for Papyrus – a charity which strives to prevent youth suicide. Gumbs has two daughters – Kalicia, 27, and Jewel, 24 – and was motivated to do the marathon after the suicide of her friend Carla Dunphy-Clarkson, 23, and the attempted suicide of a 24-year-old male friend.
The hiring of Gumbs comes after former national coach Gillian Lee left the position earlier this year. The Australian arrived in Cayman back in May 2012 on a two-year contract that paid her $50,000 per annum and, according to the association, Lee chose not to re-sign the deal. Cayman’s first technical director in over a decade, Lee filled a post that was left vacant by the passing of Jean Pierre. Among Lee’s accomplishments was helping to form and direct the national Under-21 team that finished 17th out of 20 countries at the 2013 World Youth Netball Championships in Scotland.
Lee would go on to be head coach of the Maldives national team and told Netball Australia – the sport’s governing body in her home country – back in February that she enjoyed her Cayman experience.
“The (Cayman Islands) job certainly was perfect for me in that it included coaching both youth and the elite, something that I’ve always done,” Lee said. “The job in the Cayman Islands came at the perfect time for me and my family (husband Mick and sons Hayden and Jarryd). Both our boys were at college in the U.S. studying so to be living in the same time zone as them and being able to see them more was perfect.”