It’s not surprising that Guy Gibbs credits his Regis High School players for giving him one of the best high school coaching records ever in Colorado. He always prepared his teams to the best of his ability, but when the game started, it was up to the players to decide the outcome.
“I always had players who played to win,” Gibbs said, reflecting on his 1956-84 coaching career. “They expected to win. I felt that in every game. It never was a case of maybe we had a chance that night and we’d go out and see.”
And win they did. While Gibbs also coached football and track and field at Regis, he made his mark in basketball.
In a 28-year span, his teams posted a 473-156 record. With a victory percentage of .752, he was Colorado’s winning-est basketball coach when he retired.
“His teams were always well disciplined,” longtime Denver Christian coach Dick Katte said. “He was as composed as any coach I’ve seen and his kids played that way, too.”
There was a method to Gibbs’ sideline style. The roll of gentleman coach was his way of keeping his own emotions under control and his team from losing confidence. “I never wanted our players to feel like they were in trouble because of the way I appeared,” Gibbs said. “I tried not to make too big of an issue about the game we were playing”
After his student days at Regis and Colorado College, plus a stint in the Marine Corps, Gibbs entered the insurance business. But he kept remembering his Regis mentor, Lou Kellogg, and thinking that some day he wanted a job like Kellogg’s.
When the Regis High School basketball coaching job opened, Gibbs discovered he was the successful candidate. But he also learned he’d be the school’s football coach and track and field coach as well. The news caused his mother to cry…but not with tears of joy. “Most of the people I was with in school became doctors, lawyers and very successful professionals. She thought I was nuts,” Gibbs explained.
Gibbs not only led his sports teams at Regis, but also got involved in most everything else. He and Regis athletic director Fr. Arthur Verdieck were instrumental in the 1968 statewide decision to put private schools under the Colorado High School Activities Association jurisdiction. The move ended the Denver Parochial League and high school programs of member schools like St. Francis, St. Joseph’s, Cathedral and Annunciation. Gibbs’ basketball teams didn’t miss a beat. They were league champions or co-champions eight times in the Parochial League. They won 12 league titles and qualified for the State playoffs nine times in the CHSAA.
A tie to both eras. Gibbs osmosed from playing baseball for Cobe Jones at Regis to being a three-sport coach there during the old and new league setups. He also became a prominent basketball and football official and did supervisory work for the Rocky Mountain Athletic, Western Athletic and Mountain West (Collegiate) Conferences.
Gibbs, 74, doesn’t have a defining moment. “The whole thing was rewarding situation,” he said. “I loved the teaching part, but the games just killed me. I only remember the close games we lost because I would think that maybe I could have done something differently.”
Actually, only two of his teams had a season below .500. His first Regis football team finished 3-6-1 in 1956 and his last basketball team was 8-13 in 1984, yet missed the State playoffs by just one basket.
“I made the right decision,” Gibbs declared. “Teaching in a parochial school isn’t the most lucrative thing to do. But I have no regrets.” He thinks maybe if his parents were alive to see him inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, they too, would have no regrets…or tears!
I always had players who played to win.