Taylor Crabb

Taylor Crabb

Birth Date
01/01/0001
Birth Place
Unknown
Height
185 cm
Weight
76 kg

Stafford Slick’s response to this story – and the accompanying one on Phil Dalhausser – was exactly what you’d expect from an American blocker not named Jake Gibb or Phil Dalhausser. 

“They’re annoying,” he wrote. “And I don’t like them.”

He’s joking, of course, though like any joke, there’s at least a kernel of half-truth in there. It is undeniably annoying, at the very least, for any American blocker to have competed against Dalhausser and Gibb this past decade, particularly when that decade happens to be your athletic prime as well. 

Actually, Slick wrote, “don’t you mean two decades?” 

Ah, yes, yes we do. Two decades is, incredibly, nearly how long their dominance as the unquestioned top blockers in the United States has been. It’s Gibb, however, who’s technically been at it longer, Gibb who won first. 

Austin of 2004 is when Gibb claimed victory. His first match of that tournament? Against a wiry young man named Phil Dalhausser. 

Prior to that win, Ryan Mariano had the best laid plans for his future. In 2003, he had been splitting his time between playing professionally indoors overseas before returning to the beach to finish out the AVP season. Gibb had recently moved from Utah to Southern California, was still somewhat unknown, somewhat raw. Mariano was going to be the first to discover him.  

“I had just gotten done playing at Laguna Beach,” Mariano said. “This tall gangly guy is sitting there, and he’s peppering with his wife. I had to take my bike to the beach, and so I was gonna play until the sun goes down. 

“And so I asked him to play and he said yes and then we played a couple games, then we started practicing together, then I talked to Karch [Kiraly]. I said I got this new guy from Utah, would you mind if I brought him to practice? So we played against Karch, against Mike Lambert and Larry Witt.”

Just like that, Gibb was in with the best players in the country, and in Kiraly, the greatest legend the beach game has known. And Gibb was hanging with them. 

“I said I’m gonna go to Europe for one more year, then I’ll come back and we’ll play together,” Mariano said. “But then he goes and wins Austin with Adam Jewell. And I’m like ‘I’m never gonna be able to play with this kid again.’”

His prediction proved, unfortunately for Mariano, prescient. Stein Metzger, an Olympian in the 2004 Athens Games, scooped up Gibb. A decade and a half of dominance began. 

Since Gibb began competing overseas, on the FIVB with Metzger, there have only ever been two American blockers to represent the United States in the Olympic Games: Jake Gibb, and Phil Dalhausser. At first blush, you may think this is due to a dearth of talented blockers in the United States. It is not. 

Over the previous four quads, Gibb has had to outlast Matt Fuerbringer in both 2008 and 2012, a blocker with eight AVP wins to his name, who finished ranked as high as No. 7 in the world in 2012. 

Gibb never expected to continue playing beyond London. Yet Casey Patterson called, and they just…kept…winning. Four straight AVPs did they win in their first year together. They returned home with a gold in their second FIVB, in Shanghai in 2013. 

As the Rio Games drew closer, they were miles ahead of the next U.S. team, especially with Dalhausser swapping partners at the last minute, from Sean Rosenthal to his good buddy, Nick Lucena. 

Sure, he could do Rio, too. 

But that had to be it, right? Twelve years of winning tournaments, of traveling the world, of three Olympic Games – it was the end of the road. 

Then another kid called. Taylor Crabb, a quicksilver fast bug from Hawai’i. And they, too, began winning. In just their second AVP tournament as a team, they won in New York City. It was Crabb’s first victory as a player, an event that would set off a string of 10 more, all over the globe. 

It is the most recent victory that may be the most impressive, a 4-star in Chetumal, Mexico a little more than a year ago. They’d defeat a gauntlet of teams that included Poland’s Michal Bryl and Grzegorz Fijalek, Italy’s Adrian Carambula and Enrico Rossi, and, for gold, Dutch bombers Alex Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen. 

At the age of 43 years, nine months, and 12 days, Gibb became the oldest player to win an FIVB event. 

Fifteen years, six months, and 16 days after winning his first professional tournament, Gibb continues doing just that: Winning. Just one decade of dominance, of influence, of forcing the next generation of American blockers to improve, to step up, to evolve? 

Nah, Gibb’s been here for nearly two. 

It’s a love-hate relationship American blockers have with the 44-year-old: Gibb was, and is, the guy they grew up watching, wanting to emulate. Now he’s the guy they want to beat, but so rarely do. 

For six more months, until the end of the Tokyo Games, Gibb will remain at the top of the American blocking totem pole with Dalhausser. Then he’ll take his rightful place in the subjective record books as one of the greatest of all time. 

“Just the thought of no Jake or Phil,” Lucena said, before trailing off. 

It’s impossible to imagine, for nobody has had to ponder it since 2004 – nearly two decades of dominance.

Read more: Roster 100 to showcase stars of volleyball and beach volleyball

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Career

  • Position Unknown
  • Current Club Long Beach State
  • Team partner Gibb

Season Date Type Tournament (country) Partners Rank Prize Money US$ Earned Points
1 2020 March 9 WT4* Doha (QA) Gibb 5 6,000.00 480
2 2019 November 13 WT4* Chetumal (MX) Gibb 1 20,000.00 800
3 2019 October 4 CCH Boca Chica (DO) Gibb 1 0.00 600
4 2019 September 4 WTF Rome (World Tour Finals) (IT) Gibb 4 16,000.00 840
5 2019 August 14 WT4* Moscow (RU) Gibb 9 4,000.00 400
6 2019 July 30 WT5* Vienna (AT) Gibb 9 8,000.00 600
7 2019 July 24 WT4* Tokyo (JP) Gibb 19 2,800.00 300
8 2019 July 18 WT4* Espinho (PT) Gibb 17 3,000.00 320
9 2019 July 9 WT5* Gstaad (CH) Gibb 9 8,000.00 600
10 2019 June 28 WCH WCH Hamburg (DE) Gibb 9 11,000.00 800
11 2019 April 24 WT4* Xiamen (CN) Gibb 9 4,000.00 400
12 2019 March 6 WT3* Sydney (AU) Gibb 5 3,000.00 360
13 2018 October 17 WT4* Las Vegas (US) Gibb 5 6,000.00 480
14 2018 August 8 WT4* Moscow (RU) Gibb 9 4,000.00 400
15 2018 July 31 WT5* Vienna (AT) Gibb 5 12,000.00 720
16 2018 July 10 WT5* Gstaad (CH) Gibb 4 16,000.00 840
17 2018 July 5 WT4* Espinho (PT) Gibb 17 3,000.00 320
18 2018 June 27 WT4* Warsaw (PL) Gibb 17 3,000.00 320
19 2018 May 1 WT4* Huntington Beach (US) Gibb 25 1,500.00 0
20 2018 April 18 WT4* Xiamen (CN) Gibb 9 4,000.00 400
21 2018 March 6 WT4* Doha (QA) Gibb 9 4,000.00 400
22 2018 February 27 WT5* Fort Lauderdale (US) Gibb 9 8,000.00 600
23 2017 July 28 WCH Vienna (AT) Gibb 17 7,000.00 320
24 2017 July 13 OTH Long Beach Presidents Cup (US) Gibb 5 0.00 0
25 2017 July 4 WT5* Gstaad (CH) Gibb 9 8,000.00 360
26 2017 June 27 WT5* Porec (HR) Gibb 5 12,000.00 480
27 2017 May 31 WT3* Moscow (RU) Gibb 25 1,000.00 90
28 2017 May 17 WT4* Rio de Janeiro (BR) Gibb 5 6,000.00 320
29 2017 February 7 WT5* Fort Lauderdale (US) Gibb 5 12,000.00 480
30 2016 August 23 GS Long Beach (US) Crabb Tr. 17 7,000.00 240
31 2016 July 27 MJS Klagenfurt (AT) Crabb Tr. 9 11,000.00 360
32 2016 July 5 MJS Gstaad (CH) Crabb Tr. 9 11,000.00 360
33 2016 May 17 OPEN Cincinnati (US) Crabb Tr. 9 2,000.00 240
34 2016 April 29 CT DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (DO) Crabb Tr. 2 1,700.00 252
35 2016 April 22 CT CAYMAN ISLANDS (KY) Crabb Tr. 1 3,000.00 280
36 2016 April 8 CT LA PAZ BAJA CALIFORNIA SUR (MX) Crabb Tr. 3 1,050.00 224
37 2016 April 1 CT Guaimas Sonora (MX) Crabb Tr. 3 1,050.00 224
38 2016 March 11 CT GUATEMALA (GT) Crabb Tr. 1 3,000.00 280
39 2015 October 14 CT SAINT LUCIA (LC) Crabb Tr. 1 0.00 280
40 2015 September 22 OPEN Xiamen (CN) Crabb Tr. 9 2,000.00 240