Editorial: Gregg Nibert
“There’s a lot of pressure on those guys over there.”
That was the sad response of someone close to the athletic department at Presbyterian College when told last Wednesday that Gregg Nibert had resigned as men’s basketball coach.
Presidents have come and gone from PC since Nibert took the head coaching job April 26, 1989 (he served as an assistant coach from 1981 until 1984). Head football coaches have come and gone. Athletic directors have come and gone.
Nibert has been a constant. He and his wife Peggy are the best ambassadors PC has had since Cally Gault retired. It would be difficult to find someone who has a less-than-kind word to say about Gregg Nibert.
PC’s Vice President of marketing and communications sent a terse statements announcing that Nibert was leaving. “Gregg Nibert, head basketball coach for the men’s team at Presbyterian College, has resigned. Nibert led the Blue Hose for 28 seasons and accumulated more than 400 victories.”
419 to be exact. His entire head coaching career has been at PC.
PC President Bob Staton added the obligatory statement of thanks and appreciation. Four sentences long.
“While Gregg has decided to resign, he leaves us with a solid foundation for continuing to strengthen our basketball program.”
We received the email announcement of Nibert’s resignation at 11:39 a.m. on Wednesday, April 12. Four minutes later, we received another email announcing that an interim head coach has been named, a move showing extremely bad taste.
Either the interim announcement should have been included in the original email or – better – give the PC community 24 hours to digest what has happened to their favorite son.
Nibert is much more than “just” a basketball coach. He is a spokesman and recruiter for foster families. He and Peggy have received national recognition for unselfishly helping scores of helpless babies.
But we want to focus on how great a basketball coach he was before PC made the bone-headed move to Division I athletics.
Nibert’s team have always played outstanding fundamental basketball. His players knew to follow their shot. To block out. With exceptions, his guys could make critical free throws.
Sometimes, this attention to detail is challenging to players. Some quit, some leave, some transfer – each for his own unique reason. At the DI level, the NBA and its developmental league is always a lure for some players. Coaching is a constant—at any level. Coaching is essential.
Nibert is PC’s all-time winningest coach. His overall record is 419-409. Since PC left Division II in 2007, the Blue Hose men have lost 218 games. There have been no winning seasons. In the 18 prior seasons, Nibert’s teams had 16 winning seasons, including a 27-5 mark and a 27-9 record.
His last team won only five games.
We don’t know what’s next for the former coach, but Nibert and his family will be fine. He and Peggy boldly exhibit their strong faith every day.
But, it’s sad. It’s frustrating. It’s hard not to be angry.