Track services

Former Ole Miss athletics head coach Dr. Ken Gibson has died

OXFORD, Miss. –Former Ole Miss Athletics Head Coach Dr. Ken Gibson – the first black head coach in Ole Miss Athletics history – died Wednesday, July 27 at the age of 88.

At Ole Miss, Gibson was in charge of the Rebel athletics and cross country programs from 1985 to 1988. During this time he coached two Olympians for the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul: Allan Ince for Barbados (400 meter hurdles) and Gary Kinder for the US team (decathlon). He also coached All-American Earl Bridges, who finished seventh in the outdoor triple jump in 1986, and he oversaw the start of the Ole Miss women’s track and field program, which began its first season in 1985-86. .

A longtime track and field head coach and respected scholar, Ken Gibson’s teams have won one NCAA team title and five individual national championships.

Gibson graduated from Indiana University in 1955 and received his master’s degree from Indiana in 1958. He received his doctorate from Brigham Young University in 1978.

He began his sports career in New York City as a high school teacher and track and cross country coach. In 1964 he became a senior track and cross country trainer at Florida A&M, and in 1966 he took a similar position at Grambling State. A year later, Gibson moved again, this time to Kentucky State University, where his tenure included a national tag team championship in 1971 and five individual championships.

His tenure at Ole Miss from 1985 to 1988 was his last coaching stop, culminating in his service to the United States Olympic Coaching Team in 1988, where two of his athletes were competing in Seoul.

Since 1991, he has been an adjunct professor of physical education at Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky. Gibson has published numerous articles in School coach, track techniqueand university magazine, and he contributed to the athletic congress coaches manual. He has been on staff for many international teams, including as head coach of the 1997 United States Indoor World Championship team.

He is a member of several halls of fame, including the KSU Hall of Fame and the USTFCCCA (United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association) Hall of Fame.

Gibson is survived by his wife, Betty, and two children, Tracy and Tamara. A service is scheduled for this Friday (August 5) at the Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Frankfort, Kentucky. Visitation is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., with a funeral mass at 11:30 a.m.

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