Son of legendary Ohio high school coach John Gibbons, the Lake Catholic alum is looking to build on the Cougars’ best season since 2001.
For Marty Gibbons, coaching isn’t about the accolades — it’s about the impact he can make. “I could be a nameless position coach somewhere,” he says, “but I’d be happy as long as I’m around the game and working with people.” The 29-year-old Gibbons, currently the head coach at Lake Catholic, might be best known for announcing the Browns’ second-round draft pick in April.
But on the field, he followed up a decorated career at John Carroll University (where he played under new Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley) by becoming head coach at Lake Catholic (his alma mater) in 2018. Last year, he led Lake to the state title game — something the Cougars hadn’t accomplished since 2001 — and was named Northeast Lakes All-District Division IV Coach of the Year.
The goal for Gibbons is that last season is just the beginning for him and Lake Catholic. We talk to Gibbons, the son of legendary Ohio high school football coach John Gibbons, about growing up around coaching, the joys of working with youth and more.
Q: When you were growing up, did you imagine you’d end up in coaching in some way?
A: I’m one of nine kids and there’s three boys in our family. Three of the four are coaches and one of my brothers-in-law [Mark Gowin] is the head coach at St. Edward High School. My other brother-in-law is the head basketball coach at Lake Catholic. Coaching has been everything that I’ve been around since I was little, so I knew I was going to coach. I didn’t know in what capacity, but I always knew that I wanted to be a coach.
Q: What excites you about coaching at the high school level?
A: Especially younger people, that high school age group — they have so much future ahead of them. Just being around younger people for me is an inspiration because you can lose sight of that side of you as an adult. That’s been the most powerful thing for me as I go through life here; not just being able to make an impact, but also having the kids bring the best out of you when you go to work every day.
Q: What did you learn about coaching during a pandemic?
A: Just because of the nature of the virus and not knowing if we were going to play games at all. It was ultimately a great learning experience because it forced us to really just focus on having fun day in and day out and embracing every single moment that we were offered. I think ultimately that led to us having success because of the mindset, because we were forced to choose because of the circumstances. It was nice to see that come out to play.
Q: What’s some great advice your dad has given you about coaching or life?
A: The beauty of my dad really is growing up with him being a local head coach and everyone knows him — he’s probably one of the winningest head coaches in Ohio high school history. He never put pressure on any of us to be involved in football, so I think he’s always just wanted us to be ourselves and be the best that we can be. He didn’t necessarily give me anything specific. He wasn’t telling me what to do.
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