If you want to find out about the accomplishments and contributions of Woody Gibson, look no further than the athletic fields and offices of his alma mater, High Point University. Starting in 1975, he would carve out a thirty-eight year career as a teacher, administrator and coach that would be highlighted by the school moving from NAIA to Division I status. He would help to make the Panthers a player in intercollegiate athletics, with soccer being a guiding force.
By 1978, Gibson had taken over as men’s head coach, a post he would hold for 20 years. His teams would dominate the Carolinas Conference (nine-time champion or co-champion) and would qualify for District 26 playoffs 14 of 15 years as an NAIA member. For nine of those seasons his teams were nationally ranked (top 20). Gibson’s overall record during this time was 211-138-27, and he would finish as runner-up for National Coach of the Year in 1987. Ultimately, the NAIA would recognize both his coaching and his administrative service, which included chairing a large number of soccer committees, by inducting him into the organization’s Hall of Fame in 2011.
In 1992, Coach Gibson would start the women’s soccer program at High Point and lead it through its first three seasons. In addition, he was one of the first mentors for the NC Girls Olympic Development Program, which began in 1985. He would coach in this capacity for 11 years, focusing on U-14s but also working with the U-18s.
Had he stayed in coaching only, it would have been significant enough. But the lure of administrative work was strong, and in 1998 he became Athletic Director at HPU, a post he would hold for 10 years. His earlier experiences in the boardrooms had served him well, culminating in his being named President of the NAIA Men’s Soccer Coaches Association for 1993-1994. But the aforementioned move up the athletics membership ladder would prove to be the “most difficult, yet most rewarding” time for him and the Panthers.
The University became a Division II member in 1993 and began transition to DI in 1997. By 1999 they were members of the Big South Conference (as they remain in 2018), and it was Gibson who had a front seat to it all. His decade as AD would prove, as he noted, a challenge, but by all accounts and records, it was a success.
From 1975-1993, Woody Gibson was also men’s golf coach, HPU sports information director, and teacher of two academic classes and at least one activity class per semester. In 1991 he returned to graduate school and attained a Doctor of Education degree from Nova Southeastern (1995). Until his retirement in 2012, he was Associate Professor at the Phillips School of Business at High Point University. At present, he is a Board Member of the Guilford County Sports of Fame, to which he was selected in 2012.
Coach Gary Hall (NC Soccer HOF, 2008) has commented that “Woody was a leader in the soccer coaching profession not only because of the competitive success of his High Point teams but because of the responsibility to serve….”
And his love for the game and his university is echoed in that commitment. We welcome to the North Carolina Soccer Hall of Fame the multi-faceted Dr. Woody Gibson.