May 20, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Woodbridge football coach Rick Gibson to retire at the end of the season after 32 years

Rick Gibson will be retiring at the end of the season. (Photo Fernando M. Donado, For OC Sports Zone)

After 32 seasons at Woodbridge High, Rick Gibson told his players Friday night that he is retiring as the varsity football coach after the season. The Warriors have their final regular season game next Friday vs. Portola at University and are still in the hunt for the CIF playoffs.

Gibson would coach through the playoffs if the team qualifies.

Woodbridge High officials and the Woodbridge Athletic Booster Club will honor Gibson after Friday’s game with Portola.

Gibson said he is “at peace” with his decision. He told his players of his decision after the Warriors Pacific Coast League game with University Friday night. The Warriors evened their league mark with a 42-0 victory over the Trojans to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Last week, after the team’s homecoming game, Gibson was honored by former players who had an inkling that Gibson would step down.

In August, Gibson announced that Aaron Craver would become co-head coach and that he would decide later whether he would return.

“I’m closer to the end of the career than I am the starting of the career,” Gibson said before a game with Newport Harbor. “So I know we want some stability with the program. Let’s say I decide to do it at the end of this year, then there’s a big process to happen. With this, the transition would be smooth, whether it’s the end of this year or the end of next year.”

Gibson led the past eight Woodbridge teams to the CIF playoffs. The squad won the Pacific Coast League crown last year and took home the Dennis Toohey Fence Post Trophy.

The Warriors won league titles in 1988, 1998 and 2018. In 1988, Gibson led Woodbridge to the CIF runner-up finish. The Warriors lost to Trabuco Hills 34-14 in the Division VIII title game.

In 1998, the Warriors captured a CIF title under Gibson, defeating Santa Margarita 27-24 in the Division VI final. He has been coaching at Woodbridge since 1984.

Gibson was an assistant coach on the Warriors 1987 CIF championship team under Gene Noji. And in 1988, he took over for Noji when Noji had a year off before later coming back as the permanent coach.

Craver has been the Warriors defensive coordinator and long-time assistant coach.

He has also been a head coach at Centennial High in Compton and Artesia High.

-Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone;