Goulburn basketball has perhaps had no longer-serving or more committed advocate than Ross Whittaker.
Having passed away in early 2019, Whittaker spent 52 of his 83 years working to develop local basketball, and accrued a huge number of accolades in the process.
One more distinction was recently added to the list, when representatives from the Goulburn Mulwaree Council officially renamed the Goulburn Basketball Arena in Whittaker's honour last Sunday.
In front of the newly-named Ross Whittaker Basketball Stadium, mayor Bob Kirk, deputy mayor Peter Walker, and councillor Margaret O'Neill were joined by Whittaker's daughter, Cath Evans, and representatives from Basketball NSW and the wider basketball community to recognise a giant of local sport.
Ms Evans spoke on behalf of her mother, Diane Whittaker, and sister, Jo, and said the whole family was immensely proud of their father's accomplishments.
"We are honoured to have a building dad held so dear named after him," Ms Evans said.
When the possibility of renaming the stadium was originally raised by council, Goulburn Basketball Committee submitted an application in late 2019.
In the application letter, committee member Matt Casey praised Whittaker's "extraordinary servant leadership".
"In Goulburn Ross carried out his role as Treasurer and Finance Director with consummate dedication and skill. Particularly at a time when the finances were split between numerous accounts he was able to deal well with all the individual sub groups to ensure the stadium itself was well managed, affiliations were up to date and the various competitions were healthy in terms of players and finances," Casey said.
"He demonstrated extraordinary servant leadership through his ability to relate well to people and his inspirational commitment to ensuring that the association was about 'getting people onto the basketball court'. Over many years Ross encouraged and guided generations of administrators and coaches and effectively mentored the association presidents and secretaries."
The resolution to rename the stadium was passed unanimously at a council meeting on May 5 last year.
"This gentleman [Whittaker] has given a lot of service to this community, and what he has put into this facility I know, because I personally used to play basketball at the same time as Ross in the 50s," Cr O'Neill said at the meeting.
"I think this is a great contribution to this person and I think his family will greatly appreciate it."
Some of Whittaker's many achievements include:
- Three life memberships - Basketball NSW, Barrengarry Conference, Goulburn Basketball Association
- NSW State Selector
- NSW State Representative Coach - various age groups for 20 years
- Secretary - Barrengarry Conference Basketball and GBA
- Classified as 'Unsung Hero' in "The History of Basketball in NSW 1938-1988"
While you're with us...
Did you know the Goulburn Post is now offering breaking news alerts and a weekly email newsletter? Keep up-to-date with all the local news: sign up here.