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Fred Gibson
The Centralia Sports Hall of Fame
2009 Individual Award Winner


Having seen only one basketball game in his life, Gibson tried out for the Orphans his Sophomore year (1945) at Centralia High School. Assistant Coach Evers, advised him to go see Mr. Cooksey at the community center and practice his basketball skills. Gibson took the advice and had some fun learning the game and Cooksey also provided him with the opportunity to officiate independent basketball, softball, and baseball games for the recreation department.

In 1952, while continuing to coach grade school basketball at Young and then Hoyleton, he began his officiating career by joining the IHSA. Early in his officiating days, Coach Evers offered Gibson the opportunity to referee the Centralia Holiday Tournament. Shortly after his first CHT, his mailbox was filled with offers to officiate throughout the state. 

From that point on, his officiating date book was always filled three years in advance until he retired from calling games in 1975 to become principal at Centralia High School. He held that position until retiring in 1992.  During this time, he also served as president of the South Seven Conference for several years. Prior to accepting the principalís position, Gibson was Dean of Students at CHS for six years. 

In his 24 years as an official, Gibson worked everything from junior high state tourney games to high school and all the junior colleges in the Southern Illinois area. He even worked several games at SIUC (basketball and football), Murray State University, Arkansas State University, and McKendree College.

At the high school level, he called basketball games at such tournaments as: Centralia, Carbondale, Salem, Olney, Belleville East, Collinsville, Edwardsville, Quincy, Eldorado, and Effingham. He worked IHSA tournament games for 21 years including 16 Sectionals, and State finals in 1962, 1963, 1964, and the state championship game in 1968.

In 1977, Gibson was inducted into the IBCA Hall of Fame in the Officials category.



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