A former track-and-field alumnus who left his mark at Shippensburg University now has the opportunity to leave his mark as a head coach.
Nicholas Gibson, a 2015 graduate and former track-and-field athlete at SU, has stumbled upon a head coaching position at Salem International University, taking over as the bench boss for the men’s track-and-field team and the men’s cross-country team. Gibson now has the chance to build his own team using the skills and values he learned in his time at SU.
“The thing I learned was just the winning mentality,” Gibson said. “We knew what we needed to do and we knew what we needed to do to win, and I think that’s helped me transition pretty well.”
Fresh out of college, Gibson understands how rare and special this opportunity is.
“It was exciting because I know where I was before a year and a half [ago], so it was really exciting that they were making me the men’s head cross-country and track coach with not too much time out of college,” Gibson said. “Not too many people my age are put in that type of position.”
At SU, Gibson often competed in distance relays for the track-and-field team, winning his fair share of races in the process. As part of a four-man team, Gibson and company scorched the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Championships record in the 4x800 relay with a time of 7:41.44 in 2015, taking first place in the event.
However, Gibson’s Shippensburg successes do not end there. His contributions aided in the Raiders claiming their seventh-straight PSAC title, a streak that still stands at eight today.
Gibson’s senior season was a special one. In his final year with SU, Gibson’s performance in the 4x800 on the indoor track helped his squad reach its sixth PSAC championship in seven years. He recounted his favorite memory at SU with joy.
“At Shippensburg, for me, it was honestly my first indoor championships whenever we were running at Bucknell,” Gibson said. “It was just a great experience to win and then for the 4x800 when I anchored it.”
“We were winning whenever I got it but just the team surrounding the track and cheering me on gave me chills and helped me to be able to bring home the win for the team,” Gibson said.
With the help of coaches Steve Spence and Dave Osanitsch, Gibson has the skills and experiences in place to begin establishing his mark at Salem International. Whether it was on the track or off the track, Gibson had plenty of help along the way, as he thought back to all those who gave him guidance during his time at Shippensburg.
“Coach Spence has been there forever, coach Osanitsch has been there for a while, even the other assistants who are part time or just come volunteer their time just to be a part of the program for the love of the sport,” Gibson said.
It is obvious SU has had a significant impact on leading Gibson to the position he is in today.
Like Spence and Osanitsch before him, Gibson is now responsible for building the program at his university.
“My goal is just to grow the team,” Gibson said. “From where I was to where I am now, having that same [winning] mentality where [you know] things aren’t going to be easy, but if you keep putting in the work the results will come.”
With only two registered athletes to the team now, Gibson has a tall order ahead of him. For Gibson, growth and dedication will spell out success, and coming from SU, he is well prepared for the challenge.