O'Fallon Progress

O’Fallon coach faces DUI charge, cites family for resignation

BY DAVID WILHELM AND TODD ESCHMAN

News-Democrat

O'Fallon coach Rick Gibson resigned Tuesday after 11 seasons as the boys basketball coach at O’Fallon High School.
O'Fallon coach Rick Gibson resigned Tuesday after 11 seasons as the boys basketball coach at O’Fallon High School. znizami@bnd.com

Rick Gibson resigned Tuesday after 11 seasons as the boys basketball coach at O’Fallon High School.

Gibson, 42, said the decision is unrelated to his Aug. 12 arrest on a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol. The demands of coaching, rather, have become too time-consuming for his busy family life.

Gibson and his wife, Suzanne, have a 2-year-old daughter. Gibson also has three children from a previous marriage, while Suzanne has one from a previous marriage. Suzanne Gibson is the girls swimming coach at O’Fallon.

“It has to do with the kids’ situation is what it is,” Rick Gibson said. “I’m busy as I can be. It’s that 100 percent. (Suzanne) is busy with (swimming) and I see how hard it is on her trying to coach and still help out at home. At some point, we had to simplify things.”

The District 203 School Board likely will formally accept Gibson’s resignation during its regular meeting Sept. 22.

Gibson was charged with misdemeanor DUI and improper backing of a vehicle and is scheduled to appear in St. Clair County Circuit Court on Sept. 15. His blood-alcohol level was not available, but he reported to the officer at the time of his arrest that he had consumed two 12-ounce beers.

According to the incident report, Gibson was stopped shortly before midnight Aug. 12 after a patron of Shooter’s Bar and BBQ, 113 E. 1st St., alerted an officer that his white Volkswagon had been backed into by a Gibson’s 2010 Nissan SUV.

Gibson told the officer he was unaware that he had backed into another car. He subsequently failed field sobriety tests and twice refused a breathalyzer.

Gibson would not discuss the charges. There are no prior offenses against him on St. Clair County records other than a 2014 speeding ticket that was later dismissed.

O’Fallon Principal Rich Bickel confirmed that Gibson submitted his resignation Tuesday.

Panthers Athletics Director Todd Moeller credited Gibson for doing a guality job during his tenure as coach.

“He’s been a great coach for us, and I know the kids and myself will definitely miss him,” Moeller said. “But I totally understand the reasons that he gave us why he’s getting out — family reasons.”

Among the candidates to replace Gibson could be O’Fallon assistant coaches Brian Muniz and Brad Copelin. Muniz, whose brother, Joe, is the head coach at Belleville West, was an assistant in each of Gibson’s 11 seasons.

Gibson, a graduate of Centralia High, took over for Kevin Kellerman in 2005. Gibson, who finished 209-121, led the Panthers to a second-place finish in the Class AA state tournament in 2007. They placed fourth in the Class 4A state tournament in 2010.

Gibson also was an assistant coach for five years before replacing Kellerman.

“It has been a great run. It’s been a lot of fun,” Gibson said. “I’ve really enjoyed the coaching and doing all that. To me, the things you take away are the relationships that you have with the players, the relationships you have with your assistant coaches, who you spend a lot of time with, and the relationships with the coaches you went up against.”

Gibson said he planned on continuing as coach until recently.

“Over the summer, I fully thought that I had a few more years in me,” he said. “In my head, I kind of had a couple more years, I was thinking. Things were getting busy and I was thinking, ‘Maybe.’ But after these first couple of weeks of school, it’s been (crazy).

“There’s so many things going on with my kids. There’s a lot of days I’ll get in the car after school and I’m in the car until 8 or 9 o’clock with practices, with games. (The kids) are in all different directions. ... It’s gotten to be more than I can be at.”

Gibson’s daughter, Addison, is a freshman at Belleville West. His twins, son Chase and daughter Claire, are seventh-graders at Signal Hill. Suzanne’s son, Braden, is a first-grader.

“I thought maybe I would be able to ride it out until (Chase and Claire) got into high school,” Gibson said. “But now with (Addison) being at a different school and the twins being at a different school and my youngest at a different school, they’re all in different directions and they’re all involved in different sports right now.

“I’m like, ‘How am I ever going to fit in the open gym (period), practices and so on?’”

The best player Gibson coached was Roosevelt Jones, who went on to enjoy a stellar career at Butler. Other top players under Gibson included Copelin, Donovan Franklin, the Panthers’ career scoring leader, Kenny Leverette, Josh Buie, Roy Bullock, Charles Joy, Mike Malat and Michael Jackson.

“I did have some really good ones,” Gibson said. “Getting to see some of those guys – even if it’s not maybe the big-time Division I level like (Jones) – that made it at Division II, Division III or NAIA, you get to continue to see their careers progress.”

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