Ed’s sons pursued professional baseball careers, but this season, the trio again can be found in the St. John’s dugout. Mark Gibbs is now the team’s skipper, while Ed and Kevin are assistant coaches.
St. John’s has standout players every season, but the Gibbses have been a constant in the No. 1 Cadets’ success since the early 1990s. St. John’s has won five consecutive Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championships, and on Saturday afternoon at Riverdale Recreation Center, the Cadets beat DeMatha, 14-0, in a rematch of last year’s title game.
“It’s really cool to have all of us here together,” Ed Gibbs said. “You just don’t see it very often.”
After three seasons as an assistant, Ed Gibbs became the head coach at St. John’s in 1993. The 1967 St. John’s graduate turned around the program after several years of losing records, and now the Northwest Washington private school’s baseball field is named after him.
Mark Gibbs starred for St. John’s in the mid-1990s and played in the minor leagues for three seasons before joining the Cadets as an assistant coach in 2004. By his second year on staff, Mark was making decisions and becoming a vocal presence for a team that received national votes by multiple publications.
In 2007, Mark took over the program, while Ed shifted to an assistant.
“Being a young coach, it was so important having somebody who had been around for a long time,” Mark Gibbs said. “We have a fantastic coaching staff, but there’s no doubt when I have to make a tough decision, I go to him because I know I’m going to get a very unbiased opinion.”
This season, St. John’s added Kevin Gibbs to its staff with his son, Casey, a sophomore on the squad.
Ed Gibbs said Mark is a better coach than he was, remaining calm in pressure situations and putting more thought into practice schedules. Though St. John’s graduated its top three players from last season, it’s again the team to beat in the WCAC with one of the area’s most potent pitching staffs.
“When I step on the field, he’s Coach Gibbs and not Uncle Mark,” Casey Gibbs said. “It’s a lot more relaxed at Thanksgiving.”
Conversations between Ed Gibbs and his children aren’t the same as they were 29 years ago living together in Annapolis, when they discussed golf and their favorite MLB team, the New York Yankees, instead of family business. Baseball, though, continues to connect them every day.
“As a parent,” Ed Gibbs said, “what greater joy can you have than to see your son do better than you?”