The Brownwood Lions' and Lady Lions' quests to repeat as District 34-4A soccer champions will be led by a new head coach.
During Wednesday's signing day ceremony for Lion seniors Michael Westerman and Tim Murphy, who will continue their careers at McMurry, it was also announced that J.B. Gibbs — head coach for both the girls and boys varsity teams — was leaving Brownwood and moving to California with his wife, Susie, who is expecting their first child at the end of May.
"We're going to move to California, the Sacramento area, at the end of June and I'm going to start working for a company called Cardinal on July 1," Gibbs said. "It's pretty much a high tech ag company and I'm going to have a sales/managerial type position. It's a chance for my wife and I to be closer to her family, and for my wife to be at home with our son, who's coming soon.
"Obviously part of us is very sad that we're leaving Brownwood. We've grown roots here. We've been here three years now and met a lot of good people. It's a great community. But part of us is very exited about the next challenge and new take on life."
Gibbs — who inherited a one-win program — guided the Lions to three playoff berths, a trip to the regional quarterfinals, an undefeated run to a district championship and a 34-32-2 overall record in three seasons. In one year as the Lady Lions head coach, he led the program to a 16-6-1 record, a sectional playoff appearance and a share of the program's first district title.
"The hardest part is leaving the kids," Gibbs said. "I've already cried in front of them a couple of times. I didn't want to, but I did. For the guys, we've been a part of each others' lives for three years. I also developed a good bond with the girls over the last year as well. That's been the hardest thing but, at the same time, I know this is best for our family, so that helps ease the pain a bit."