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Alumni Spotlight: Roy Gibbs

Graduation Year: 1971
Current Position: Retired teacher/coach, husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather
City & State: Lake Ariel, Pennsylvania

Tell us about your career and what you do now.
I taught in public schools (Nixa High School, Nixa, Missouri and Wayne Highlands School District, Honesdale, Pennsylvania) as a health & physical education teacher, driver’s education, and history teacher during my career and coached high school basketball for 40 years, along with several AAU teams. Coaching alongside both of my daughters (both 1,000 point scorers) along the way.

What is your favorite memory from Evangel?
I have many fond memories from my years at Evangel. First, a little background of how I made my way from rural Northeast Pennsylvania to Springfield, Missouri. I never intended, nor aspired to go to college until my high school sweetheart, my wife and partner of over 50 years, was planning to attend Evangel. She (Cynthia Wallace Gibbs, class of 1972) was one year behind me. I knew of her intentions and plans for the following year. Basketball allowed me to come to the realization that college was a true possibility. I soon learned Evangel had a basketball team. Because of Coach Aundrae Curtis, I boarded a bus in Scranton, Pennsylvania with not much more than a box of doughnuts and ended up in Springfield, Missouri a little over a day later. It was my first experience leaving the state.

I have many great memories of Evangel alumni John Porter, Chris Minor, and Wayne Tesch. I vividly recall one bus trip with the team upon returning to campus following a basketball game against Missouri Valley, we lost the air brakes on our bus. We were traveling downhill, and were blessed to come to a safe stop. The coaches, bus driver, and team trainer all filed out of the bus only to learn it was a broken air hose. They collaborated and used what they had to repair the faulty hose. The fix was athletic tape and tough skin spray! Thank you, Jesus!

Yet another memory of my time spent at Evangel with my teammates, composed of young men from all over the country, was when we caught a possum in a trash can. Our 6 foot 10 center from California was on the receiving end of our fun and camaraderie when we left the possum in his dorm room as a surprise! Our poor RA Wayne Tesch had no idea what he’d signed up for! Being so far from home, my teammates were like family.

How did Evangel help you identify / develop your calling?
During my time at Evangel I never realized the impact and how God’s perfect plan was unfolding. I graduated and remained close because my wife would be a senior the next school year. I took a job teaching and coaching at Nixa High School. It was now that I began to realize what Evangel had done for me both spiritually and professionally. Here I was teaching and mentoring high school students and just four short years earlier I didn’t even consider going to college. It was at Evangel that the foundation of my life was established. God, family, and profession. Coach Curtis was a big part of my years at Evangel. I also had the opportunity to play one year with Coach Steve Jenkins. He was a freshman while I was a senior.

What advice would you give a current student preparing for the workforce?
As a former local school board member I have been directly involved in the hiring process of many young people. My best advice for Evangel graduates is to never compromise the values that have been instilled and fostered in you while at Evangel.

To put my 4 years at Evangel in perspective, I owe 53 years of marriage and 40 years of teaching, coaching, and mentoring to those very relationships and values formed at Evangel. I am forever blessed with the foundation rooted in faith that Evangel provided me. Like most college students, I wasn’t aware of this gift at that time, but upon reflection I have such fond, fond memories and such a grateful heart.
Blessed, Roy Gibbs