Football community mourns the loss of beloved HS coach Drew Gibbs
The New Jersey football community is mourning the sudden loss of one of its top coaches.
Ramapo High School football coach Drew Gibbs died this week at the age of 59. He led the team for about 20 years.
Gibbs was widely respected in New Jersey for his lasting relationships with his players. It helped to have a dominant program. News 12 New Jersey was there a couple of years ago when Ramapo completed a perfect season.
Gibbs led the team to seven sectional titles. His former players are now left in shock.
“It didn’t seem real to me. It’s very upsetting,” says Pat O’Hagan.
O’Hagan was captain of the 2012 state championship team. Since youth football, he looked forward to the day he could play for Coach Gibbs.
“Not only was he a great football coach, but he was also a great leader, a great mentor outside and off the field, as well, to the overall Ramapo community,” O’Hagan says.
Gibbs died Tuesday morning after complications from emergency heart surgery. And even those who only knew Gibbs as a coach are shocked.
“We didn’t fair too well. We played them 12 times. We only beat them four,” says DJ Nimphius.
When Nimphius was trying to build up the River Dell team, he says he knew he should call Gibbs to hopefully pick up some tips.
“I had some free time pretty early after not playing in playoff games, so I called Coach Gibbs and I said, ‘Do you think it would be OK if I came over and watched you guys practice?’” Nimphius says.
Not only did Gibbs say yes, but he invited Nimphius back the next day.
Ramapo is 10-1 and set to play Northern Highlands on Friday night in the state sectional final. The game is expected to be moved.