Softball head coach emphasizes community

Head coach Bryan Gibson and junior Claire Kellick prepare for a coming play on third base. The Varsity softball team’s next home game will be Sept. 25, against Hazelwood West High School. Photo by Lindsey Bennett

Coaching softball was not alum Bryan Gibson’s original plan. Graduating in 1993, Gibson pursued an education degree following high school. Gibson’s motive to return to the district was, “Teaching, at first.” After college, he came back in hopes of teaching in his hometown. Gibson started subbing at Steger, eventually being asked to interview.

Gibson said, “That interview led to the job, and I’ve stayed put ever since.”

Gibson has taught math at Steger Sixth Grade Center for 20+ years. Throughout his journey, the teacher made coach has had the opportunity to connect with the players and coaches on and off the field through education.

Assistant Varsity Coach Sam Pitlyk, had Gibson as his sixth grade math teacher. Pitlyk now works with Gibson teaching on the field. Assistant Coach Emma Buckles played under Gibson, returning to help coach and support the team. Coach Gulve also graduated from WGHS before coming back to assist the team.

Gibson’s involvement in the district and love of high school sports eventually brought him to the softball coaching position. In high school, Gibson played Varsity baseball.

Gibson explains, “I was coaching baseball (for WGHS) and the softball position opened up on the JV level. I was kind of bored in a way, I had a lot of hours still, I didn’t have a family or anything, and I love the sport so I interviewed for it and took over the JV team.”

Gibson continued to coach on the JV level for three years, eventually interviewing and accepting the head coaching position.

As well as coaching, Gibson’s main focus has been growing the reach and exposure of the softball program. He has done this by solidifying values of community involvement. Gibson has achieved this goal through hiring and supporting past players as well as alumni.

Alum Coach Gulve guides junior Noel Spatola from the sidelines. Photo By Lindsey Bennett

He explains, “I’m just really proud of how much it has grown. Right now we have three high school teams with 40 girls involved, four middle school teams in our feeder program. We’ve got community involvement. We are pretty well respected in the St. Louis softball community. I’m just proud of the reputation we’ve built and the quality of kids and family we tend to attract. I am pretty lucky, I get to work with one group of really nice, smart, and intelligent people after another.”

Throughout the interview, Gibson emphasized the value of the community, but most important the people within it. This includes players, siblings, alumni, parents, and coaches.

“It is kind of like a family, in a lot of ways. We have really positive parents involvement, we have some parents that are Webster alum, and we even have a couple that they played in the early years of the softball program. We have siblings that have gone on, and now their siblings are involved. We have alumni that have graduated, and they’re now coaching at other high schools or club ball. They always stay in touch with us, and some of them even coach with us. It’s really exciting and rewarding to watch these kids grow up, and give back to softball and the Webster community,” Gibson said.

Emily Stisser – Opinion Editor 

This will be Emily Stisser’s first year on ECHO staff, but she made several contributions while taking journalism class her freshman year.

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