A legacy lives on: This Father's Day, a NJ coach turns to the lessons from his dad

Brian Gibbs and his father coached together for seven years. But during the season in 2021, his dad collapsed during practice and died the next day during heart surgery.

Nick Meidanis

Jun 14, 2024, 10:45 AM

Updated 36 days ago

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Holidays are tough for one North Jersey football coach. But on this Father's Day, he's remembering the lessons of his dad, as he carves out his own path in the profession.
Those lessons start with two words as one. Brian Gibbs got an "AsOne" tattoo months after his father Drew Gibbs died.
"It gives me a boost, ‘alright you got this,’ when things are not going in the right direction,” Gibbs said.
Drew was the former head coach for Ramapo High School and built a championship football team.
Brian’s career is going in a new direction. He was just named the offensive coordinator at Pope John. But the 33-year-old admits he hoped to take over this team as the head coach, on the field named for his father.
"It’s sadness, it’s disappointment, but at the same time, I know he would be ecstatic for what I’m doing,” Brian said.
From this age, dad was always there. But there were moments of tough love. Like when Brian was looking for a job out of school.
"I actually ended up coaching in Fair Lawn. We went 0-10. It was a tough year and I saw it done somewhere else and I said, ‘alright can I come back home!,’” he said.
Brian and his father coached together for seven years. But during the season in 2021, his dad collapsed during practice and died the next day during heart surgery. He was 59. Drew was one of the best in New Jersey, leading Ramapo to seven sectional titles. He loved the sport and this job, and it showed. A legacy that lives on through hundreds of players, and his star protege.
Brian says he takes a lot of his father into his current job. “I think a lot about what he would say, what would he do in this situation that crosses my mind all the time while I’m coaching,” he said.
Brian interviewed for the Ramapo head coaching job, but the school hired Nick Guttuso. Guttuso was on the staff with the father and son.
Brian says he's excited for Guttuso to have this opportunity.


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