Bob Phibbs was an aggressive scorer on the basketball court who won national championships at the CIAU and Men’s Senior “A” levels. He enjoyed a glittering career for the University of Western Ontario Mustangs and represented Canada at the 1952 Summer Olympics as a member of the Tillsonburg Livingstons.
Phibbs was born in Windsor on May 28, 1927.
A three-sport athlete in his youth, Phibbs attended Sandwich Collegiate and Kennedy Collegiate, where he competed in basketball, football, and track and field. Phibbs attended Kennedy between 1943 and ’45, during which time he played forward for the Clippers’ Senior Basketball team. The team won back-to-back WSSA Championships with Phibbs earning All-City honours in both years.
In the autumn of 1945, Phibbs enrolled at the University of Western Ontario. As a freshman, he earned a starting place on the Mustangs basketball team, which he did not relinquish over an impressive five-year career. Phibbs became a five-time CIAU All-Star and led Western to the Canadian University Championship in every one of his years with the team. Known as a “gunner” for his ability to shoot the ball from anywhere on the floor, Phibbs scored a remarkable 316 points during the ’48-49 season.
Phibbs, who was also a member of Western’s football and track programs, received the Dr. Claude Brown Memorial Trophy in 1949, which is given annually to the male student who made the greatest contribution to athletics within the university.
He returned to Western for post-graduate studies in 1950-51 and again led the Mustangs to a League Championship.
After graduation, Phibbs moved to Tillsonburg and took a job at Livingston Manufacturing. He continued to play basketball and, in 1952, captained the Tillsonburg Livingstons to the Canadian Senior Men’s “A” Championship. Tillsonburg defeated the University of Western Ontario in the final to win the right to represent Canada at the Olympic Games in Helsinki, Finland.
Notably, that Livingstons team included fellow Windsor/Essex County Sports Hall of Fame members Bill Coulthard (inducted in 2000), Bob Simpson (1982), and Harry Wade (2001). Phibbs scored 48 points across 6 games in the Olympic tournament as Canada finished tied for ninth place.
Phibbs was inducted into the University Of Western Ontario’s Hall of Fame in 1981. He was welcomed into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.