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Friday, June 23, 2006

UNCP hires Jamie Gibbs as head wrestling coach

Jamie Gibbs was named the new head wrestling coach for The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. He will join UNCP full-time in early July.

Jamie GibbsGibbs comes to UNCP from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he was head assistant coach. At Coe College, Gibbs was responsible for day-to-day coaching, recruiting, strength and conditioning and instruction in the Physical Education Department.

Gibbs received an associate degree from Iowa Central Community College, a Bachelor of Arts degree from Coe College and a Master of Science degree in exercise sports science from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse.

In four years at Coe, Gibbs’ teams were ranked every year in the top 20 in the NCAA Division III. Eight of its wrestlers qualified for the nationals during the past two years.

UNCP conducted a nationwide search for a new wrestling coach, said Athletic Director Dan Kenney.

“Our search focused on finding someone with passion and experience for and in college wrestling. We also wanted a coach who has a genuine concern for the student-athletes he would work with,” Kenney said. “Our search focused on selecting a coach who realizes the value and importance of recruiting.”

“Jamie Gibbs demonstrated to us all of these qualities,” he said. “We are excited to have him on board and look forward to him keeping our wrestling program among the best in the nation at the NCAA Division II level.

Coach Gibbs said he looks forward to joining a program with a winning tradition.

“Coach (P.J.) Smith has built a program with a great tradition, and he proved that you can win at UNCP,” he said. “I want to build on that foundation and take it to the next level.”

“For the individual wrestlers, I want to create an environment where the student-athletes know, if they buy into it, they will get better everyday on the mats and in the classroom,” Gibbs said.

Gibbs was an All-Iowa Conference wrestler at Coe College and qualified for the nationals while in junior college. Iowa is a national hotbed for wrestling.

“Wrestling is a very important sport in Iowa, and I am looking forward to help to build the sport in North Carolina,” Gibbs said. “I want to give fans at UNCP something exciting to come out for.”

Gibbs replaces retiring 25-year head coach P.J. Smith, who applauded the selection.

“Jamie comes from a top notch program, and I believe he will take our program to the next level,” Smith said. “Not only does he know wrestling, but he is an excellent recruiter as well.”

To learn more about wrestling and athletics at UNCP, please call 910.521.6227 or email daniel.kenney@uncp.edu.

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