Gibson set to have number retired by Windsor

sports@macon.comSeptember 23, 2013 

Windsor’s list of retired athletics jersey numbers will increase by one on Oct. 4 when Kent Gibson’s No. 9 is set aside, making him the first former Knights football player to be so honored. Gibson joins eight other former Windsor athletes -- three baseball standouts, one boys basketball player and four girls basketball players -- to receive that recognition.

The baseball players whose numbers have been retired are Jerry Bass (24), Michael Mimbs (15) and Mark Mimbs (20). The lone boys basketball player is Gregory Scott Smith (45), and the girls basketball players are Jennifer Paige Hencley (20), Shelli Wall (22), Amilee Martin (30) and Leigh Ann Hammond (40).

Gibson was a two-time all-region and all-state performer for the Knights and the school’s athlete of the year in both 2007 and 2008. Following high school, he played four seasons at LaGrange College, where he was an all-conference performer while establishing numerous offensive records for the Panthers, including most career rushing touchdowns (19). He ranks in the top three in virtually every offensive category in LaGrange football history.

Gibson, who got his start on the gridiron at Central City Park as an 8-year-old, had little choice about playing football, as the sport has been a way of life for the Gibson family for four generations dating back to his great grandfather, T. Baron Gibson Sr., who played at Howard College (now Samford) from 1914-17. He was the team captain his senior season and was used at every position except center. In a game against Mercer, while playing guard, he scored three touchdowns, one on a blocked punt, another on a fumble recovery in the end zone and finally a return of an interception for a score.

Baron Gibson, who grew up in Lineville, Ala., entered the ministry following graduation from Howard and served as a U.S. Army chaplain in World War I and as a U.S. Navy chaplain in World War II.

Kent Gibson’s grandfather, John Gibson, like his father a “man of the cloth,” served several churches in the Middle Georgia area, including 16 years at Wesleyan Drive Baptist, in a more than 50-year career in the pulpit. He was on Valdosta’s state championship football team in 1940. That squad was coached by Bobby Hooks, who left Valdosta following that season to take over at Mercer and was the Bears’ final coach before football was restarted at the school this year. John Gibson was coached his junior and senior seasons by the iconic Wright Bazemore, who led the Wildcats to 14 state titles. Bazemore and Valdosta compiled a 14-4-1 record during Gibson’s final two years of high school.

Following high school and a three-year stint in the military during World War II, John Gibson enrolled at Wake Forest, where he was an end for colorful head coach Clyde Douglas “Peahead” Walker and was on the same Demon Deacons team with Bill George. George went on to become a Hall of Fame linebacker for the Chicago Bears in the NFL. He was the Bears’ Dick Butkus before Butkus went to the Windy City in 1965. Another college classmate of his was golfer Arnold Palmer. During John Gibson’s four seasons at Wake Forest, the Demons Deacons compiled a 22-17 record.

Kent Gibson’s father, Baron, and uncle, John Jr., both prepped at FPD and played in the college ranks at Mississippi College in Clinton, Miss. John Gibson Jr. was on the Vikings’ first team in 1974 and played there through the 1976 season, while Baron Gibson was at FPD from 1974-77. Both served as a co-captains their senior year. Both went on to play defensive back at Mississippi College. Today, Baron Gibson is an attorney in Macon, while John Gibson Jr. is a professor at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

As for Kent Gibson, he is currently finishing up his course work for a degree in biology at LaGrange and is considering a career in the medical field.

One thing is certain: if he has a son, you can bet he will be a football player because that’s a family legacy.

Contact Bobby Pope, who hosts the Saturday Scoreboard at 4 p.m. on Fox Sports 1670, at bobbypope428@gmail.com

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