Life Member Peter Simper

Life Member Profile – Peter Simper

Peter Simper, along with Bob Symons, was a founding father of the Perth Men’s Basketball Club in 1964. Until then, both Peter and Bob were playing with the University of WA premiership team until 1963 when the UWA Sports Council denied all players who were not undergraduates the right to continue playing for UWA. Several other outstanding UWA players were also involved in this ruling including Richard Longley, Frank Preston, and Kevin Collins, all of whom became foundation members of Perth.

Peter was a member of the WABA Junior Committee at that time with an agenda to foster junior players by dividing the Perth metropolitan area into districts and encouraging each A Grade club to take responsibility for junior development within their district. This vision has now been achieved to some extent.

Peter did not commence playing basketball until 1957 but remarkably was selected in the WA State team in 1958 and continued to represent WA for a number of years until 1966.

He represented Australia in 1961 on a tour New Zealand in a team coached and captained by Lindsay Gaze.

With some of the state’s top players moving from the UWA team straight into the new Perth Men’s Basketball Club in 1964, combined with energetic recruiting of other outstanding players, including Len Vlahov from the SLOGA club, “Pixie” Smith and Ross Field from the St John’s club, and American high school Phys Ed teacher Ed Rogers, Perth had the instant makings of a top team in the WA competition.

Peter held the position of Secretary/Treasurer of the Perth Club from inauguration until 1966 and continued as Secretary until 1969 and was the A Grade coach in 1968.

He was also the coach of the Perth U18 Boys team from 1965 to 1970 and coached the WA State U18 Boys team in 1969 and 1970. Peter continued to participate in WABA junior affairs and recruited Ed Rogers to join him on the Committee to help the promotion of district basketball and junior development.

As a testament to the success of the Perth Men’s Basketball Clubs programme of junior development, the WA U18 team of 12 in 1969 (except for the obligatory selection of two country boys), was made up entirely of 10 players, coach (Peter Simper) and team manager (Ed Rogers) from the Perth Club. The Club became so strong that some of these outstanding junior players split from Perth, in late 1971, and started up the Stirling Senators Club following the same guidelines as developed and followed by the Perth Club.

Work commitments took Peter to Canberra in 1974, where, with the help of John Heard (dual Australian Olympic Captain) he developed the Woden Basketball club in ACT along the same lines as Perth and was rewarded with life membership of that club in 1984. In addition to coaching the Woden club, he coached the ACT U18 Boys and ACT Men’s teams for a number of years in the 1980s. He played in the ACT Veterans competition (over 35s) with a team which included former Australian centre Perry Crosswhite and former Perth Wildcats coach Henry Daigle.

On returning to Perth in 1987 he finished his playing career in 1988 playing in the Perth Veterans competition and continued his involvement with the PBA as SBL Home Games Co-ordinator in the 1990 and 1991 seasons.

His interest and pride in the amazing successful development of the Perth Club, now an Association, remains undiminished.

Peter was awarded Life Membership of the PBA in 1981.

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