Gibbons to resign as head men's basketball coach at season's end
Morrow, GA - Head men's basketball coach Gordon Gibbons, Clayton State's leader in victories and one of the all-time winningest coaches at the NCAA Division II level, announced on Wednesday that he will resign his position as the Laker head coach at season's end.
"Over the past several weeks, I have had discussions with administration concerning my decision to step down at the end of the year," said Gibbons. "I have made it clear that I will not be talked out of it. They asked me to announce it now, and I have agreed with mixed emotions. Announcing it now will allow the process to begin, to bring in the next coach for our program. I will be pursuing new opportunities when we conclude the season."
In his 12th season at Clayton State, Gibbons has a 214-130 record, giving him more wins and a higher winning percentage than any coach in the program's history. In addition to his stellar accomplishments at Clayton State, he also amassed over 246 wins at Florida Southern, making him the only coach in NCAA Division II history to capture 200 victories at two different schools with a winning percentage of over 70 percent.
Overall, in 22 seasons at the NCAA Division II level, he is 460-193 for a winning percentage of .704, which ranks fourth in the nation among the active head coaches with 15 years of experience.
"Coach Gibbons has been one of the top collegiate coaches in the country and has touched the lives of thousands of young men. He has worked diligently to bring the Clayton State men's basketball team into the national spotlight," said Clayton State Athletics Director Carl McAloose. "Coach Gibbons has our student-athletes playing their best basketball of the season, so it would be great to see him have an opportunity to win another Peach Belt Conference title. Coach Gibbons will be missed, and I am sure he will be successful in whatever endeavor he pursues following his stay at Clayton State. I wish him the best and thank him for his hard work while at Clayton State."
Gibbons had an instant impact on the Clayton State program from the moment he arrived in the spring of 2001, and through his leadership developed the men's basketball program into one of the nation's premier NCAA Division II programs and one of the elite programs of the Peach Belt Conference.
Under his leadership and since his arrival, the Lakers are 117-91 in Peach Belt play. Prior to his arrival, the Lakers' Peach Belt mark was 24-40 in four seasons. The Lakers have captured the second most PBC wins over the last 11 years in the 14-team league and currently enjoy an 11-year streak of winning seasons, all accomplished during his tenure. Before his arrival, the Lakers had a combined four winning seasons in the 11 years of men's basketball.
Gibbons has led the Lakers to two NCAA Division II National tournaments, including a "Sweet Sixteen" Appearance, a Peach Belt Conference Championship and a Peach Belt Conference Tournament Championship title.
In his first season in 2000-01, the Lakers captured their first Peach Belt Conference Championship regular season title with a 19-9 record overall and a 15-5 mark in league play.
He led the program to arguably their best season ever in 2006-07, as the squad finished with a 24-8 overall record, advancing to the Peach Belt Conference Tournament championship game. The Lakers clinched their first NCAA Division II National Tournament bid that year and was ranked in the nation's Top-25 the entire season. The squad spent eight weeks ranked as the nation's No. 2 team.
Clayton State captured the Peach Belt Conference Tournament Championship in the 2007-08 season, sweeping through the tourney with four straight wins, capped off by an epic triple-overtime thriller over host USC Aiken in the title game. The win punched the Lakers' ticket to the NCAA Division II National Championships, where the squad advanced to the "Sweet Sixteen" for the first time in school history.
Gibbons won his 400th game in February of the 2008-09 season, becoming one of the fastest Division II coaches to reach the plateau. At the conclusion of 2006-07 season, Gibbons was honored as the John "Whack" Hyder State of Georgia Men's College Coach of the Year by the Atlanta Tip-Off Club, and last fall he was inducted into the Florida Association of Basketball Coaches (FABC) "Court of Legends" Hall of Fame.
Winning at the national level was not foreign to Gibbons and prior to his arrival at Clayton State, he enjoyed an ultra-successful career at Florida Southern. During his 10-year career at Florida Southern, he had a 246-65 record (3rd winningest Div. II record) and posted nine 20-win seasons. His success on the national stage at Florida Southern included six trips to the NCAA Division II National Tournament, two appearances in the Elite Eight and one appearance in the Final Four.
Gibbons averaged a 25-7 win-loss record at Florida Southern and a .790 percent winning percentage. His top season came in the 1999-00 campaign when he led the Moccasins to a 32-2 record, a trip to the Elite Eight and a No. 1 national ranking in the final Division II poll. His Florida Southern teams were either the regular season or tournament champions in the Sunshine State Conference in eight of his 10 years and were ranked in the top 20 six times.
In addition to team accomplishments, Gibbons' players also excelled academically and athletically. In his 24 years combined as a head coach and an assistant coach, Gibbons has had nine All-Americans, two National Players of the Year and one player drafted into the National Basketball Association. He has also had nearly 30 players play professional basketball in the United States and Europe.
While at Florida Southern, Gibbons was a finalist for National Coach of the Year in 1999-00 by Basketball Times. He was also selected the 1995-96 NCAA South Region NABC Coach of the Year and was a three-time Sunshine State Conference Coach of the Year.
A native of Tampa, Fla., Gibbons played his collegiate basketball at Springfield (Mass.) College, receiving his Bachelor's Degree from Springfield in 1968.
Clayton State will conduct a nationwide search for Gibbons' replacement.