Kyle Gibson: A product of a runner family

Running is a family affair for Kyle Gibson, assistant track and field and cross country coach. Between his parents and his four siblings, only two people in his family are currently not coaching track at all. Gibson’s dad, brother and sister all coach collegiately while his mom is coaching at the high school ranks.

Gibson is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he spent the first 24 years of his life. He then moved to Charlotte, North Carolina where he coached at Belmont Abbey College as an assistant coach for one season and the interim head coach over the summer. Gibson draws on that experience as well as the knowledge of his family and his two years of graduate assistant coaching at Saint Francis University in Pennsylvania in guiding his coaching where he is in his third year at Washburn.

“Seeing everything and working with my parents throughout high school and then just kind of seeing the in’s and out’s when my sister was coaching at Louisville were all really important learning experiences,” said Gibson.

 It may have seemed like a forgone conclusion that Gibson would become a coach given the background of his family, but that wasn’t necessarily the case. Gibson sees coaching as a way to give back to student-athletes the experience he gained as an athlete.

“I think it comes down to taking my experiences, both good and bad as a college athlete, and feeling like you have more to give back to the kids who are coming through the college ranks,” said Gibson. “And can give them a better experience than what you would have liked to have in college.”

Gibson was attracted to Washburn because of the way the school cares about the student body and how they provide the students and the athletes the necessary means to be successful.

Junior runner Jacob Klemz is a product of Gibson’s first-hand experience with successful student athletes.

“Coach Gibson has been a great coach for me. We really mesh well together. I knew in choosing Washburn I woud have to have full confidence in whatever coach I ended up with,” Klemz said. “He believed in me from the get-go and kept me reaching higher and higher in my performance. He has never tried to change who I am, he’s only helped me grow as a runner and individual.”

With Washburn constantly renovating and keeping their facilities up to date along with the new indoor facility coming soon it attracts not only new recruits, but it also was a selling point for Gibson.

It’s not all work though for Gibson. On practice days he spends most of his time outside so when he’s done with practice he prefers to lay around inside binge watching Netflix and relaxing. In the summers and those non-practice days he loves to spend it outside fishing, hunting and kayaking.

“I like to go to Colorado at least once a year to go hiking or snowboarding, something up in the mountains, but I have a kayak, so I really like going kayaking all day in the summer on like a Sunday or Saturday,” Gibson said. 

He may also be a little bit of a daredevil saying that because skydiving scares the crap out of him he would like to try it just to face his fear.

The hopes are high for coach Gibson and the rest of his staff. He feels that Washburn is competing in one of the best and most competitive conferences in the country and if they can succeed in the MIAA they will have plenty of success at the national level as well.

“I think seeing us move into the top half of the conference would put us in good contention to be a top program in the country,” said Gibson. “And constantly, year in year out, having kids qualify for nationals on the track and being in contention for All-Americans.”

You can see Gibson and his athletes in action next Feb. 1-2 when they travel to the MSSU Lion Open in Joplin, Missouri.