Court Dedication Honors Coach Willie Gibson


The Tribe

The court now bears the name of the legendary coach Willie Gibson.

Tre Robinson, Staff Writer

In celebrating 40 years since opening its doors, Santaluces High School honored former basketball coach Willie Gibson with a namesake court dedication. On Sunday, students and faculty from the past and present were in attendance as Principal Robinson announced the dedication of the newly remodeled gym to be known as the Coach Willie Gibson Court, in honor of the legendary coach whose impact left an indelible mark on all who knew him.

A member of the Palm Beach County Hall of Fame, Coach Willie Gibson was a legend not only at this school, but across the entire county. This was a coach who won over 500 games during his time at Santaluces and led a team to a state championship appearance. In addition to leading the basketball program during his 28 years at Santaluces, Coach Gibson also coached track and cross country. He eventually became assistant athletic director before serving as the athletic director for 6 years. 

Coach Gibson expressed his gratitude for this dedication, saying, “It’s a blessing, I have had a lot of honors and awards, but this is the icing on the cake for the career that I had.  I will never forget this. When I came to this gym I always had a lot of pride, I love Santaluces and I always will so now when I come in here and I see my name on the floor and my grandkids see this, this is unbelievable.”

Matt Collin who is a former player here at Santaluces and current Head Coach of Wellington High School’s boys basketball program talked about the impact that Coach Gibson had on him as a player and person. “Playing for Coach Gibson was memorable and he is the guy that taught me a lot about toughness because when I made a mistake, he would even stop practice to let me and everybody else know the mistake that I made, and how to correct it. He also loved me tremendously and supported me tremendously to become the man I am today by being that guy and being that support system and he’s just amazing and one of the greatest guys I know.”

Coach Collin also revealed how Coach Gibson is still influencing the game through his own decision making on the court. “Every time I go through the season there’s a point in there where I actually go back to run some of the plays that he used to run because I remember them like they were yesterday and I want to see how our guys would do with it, and sometimes it really does help us.  Also, there are other times where I ask my assistant coach who is my brother Coach Mike Collin and say ‘hey what would Coach Gibson do here?’  Then we kind of ping around and try to figure out what would coach do here.”

Santaluces is fortunate to have had a legend like Coach Gibson and it was a very memorable moment to have the court dedicated to his name in representation of all the great things he did, not only for the basketball program here, but for the entire school.