Longtime De Anza equipment manager says farewell to college2 min read

Tom Giebler concludes 34 years of service in Athletics


Dorothy Holford/La Voz Weekly

Commemoration – Jason Damjanovic, right, and the men’s basketball team present Tom Giebler, left, with a framed jersey to honor his 34 years of service.

Rajvir Kaur

After serving as Athletics Department equipment manager for 34 years, Tom Giebler retired from De Anza College on Dec. 28, 2012.
Giebler, 58, first came to De Anza as a student and went on to obtain a degree in Physical Education from CSU Bakersfield.
He returned to De Anza when the job opportunity for equipment manager presented itself and became a permanent “fixture of this institution,” as men’s basketball head coach Jason Damjanovic described.
Debi Schafer-Braun, a full time physical education instructor who has been at De Anza for 39 years, has known Giebler since he started in 1979.
She described him as the “backbone” of the Athletics Department.
“[Tom] lives and breathes De Anza,” said Schafer-Braun.
Giebler did everything from pulling out and putting in the bleachers before and after games in the gym to washing players’ uniforms and just “fixing whatever needed to be fixed,” said Jeff Forman, P.E. instructor and coordinator of the Massage Therapy Program.
“He did a bit of everything,” he said.
From championships to budget cuts, to whatever else that has transpired at De Anza over the past 34 years, Giebler has, as Damjanovic said, “done it all and seen it all,” both the good and the bad.
Giebler said the high points during his tenure at De Anza included championships, watching people fill the bleachers for a game and just the overall energy and vibe that came from the crowd.
One of the lowest points, he said, was the budget cuts that De Anza has been dealing with and, most recently, the cuts that would have been made had Proposition 30 not passed.
While awaiting the decision on Prop. 30, Giebler’s position was on the shortlist for elimination and for a while, it looked like things could have ended differently for him.
And though Prop. 30 passed and Giebler kept his job, he decided it was time to retire and close his chapter at De Anza.  
Every member of the Athletics Department, faculty and student athletes alike, praised Giebler and, as Forman described, his “mellow” personality.
“Tom is [just] a really good guy,” said baseball head coach Scott Hertler. “That’s the part I’m going to miss the most. He was always willing to help out.”
Damjanovic added that sometimes you didn’t even have to ask and “Giebs,” as he nicknamed Giebler, just got things done.
As his days as equipment manager came to an end, Giebler thanked De Anza for the past 34 years.
“It’s been a pleasure,” he said.
Taking the place of equipment manager will be Pete Rabbitt, who was formerly a part-time karate instructor. He is now a full-time member of the Athletics Department and, along with the coaching staff, is adjusting to the duties of his new job.
With Giebler gone and Rabbitt learning as he goes, coaches will also have to pitch in a hand to ensure a smooth transition.
It may take some time adjusting to their newfound duties, but the coaches will work alongside Rabbitt and, as Hertler said, together they will make things work.
Giebler said his upcoming adventures include traveling, maybe going to other schools and seeing how they do things and, as he said with a chuckle, relaxing.

Tom Giebler – “He’s more than an equipment manager, he’s a friend,” said Jason Damjanovic. (Rajvir Kaur/La Voz Weekly)

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