Lakers Head Coach Dennis Gibson’s basketball beginnings are firmly entrenched at Garrett College. Despite never playing basketball in high school, he made Garrett’s first team and became a starter by his sophomore year, helping lead the Lakers to a 17-9 record. After graduating from Garrett, he won Second Team All-ODAC honors at Bridgewater College (VA). Professionally, Coach Gibson enjoyed a short stint with the CBA team Baltimore Metros and received invitations to play overseas. Coach Gibson began his coaching career at Garrett in 1978, serving six years as an assistant while also working at his family’s business and completing his Bachelor of Arts degree at West Virginia University. In 1985, he was offered and accepted the head coaching position full-time. That first team, without a player taller than 6'5, ran off the best beginning for a Garrett team going 8-0 (a record that stood for 18 years).
Completing his 35 year as Lakers mentor, Coach Gibson owns an impressive record of 697-395 averaging nearly 20 wins per season, ranking him 9th in wins among active coaches. His 1994-95 team was the first team in any sport in Garrett College history to win the Region XX tournament and MD JUCO tourney in the same year. That same team went on to finish sixth in the country in the NJCAA tournament. The 2002-03 team dropped eighth-ranked Allegany College of Maryland 55-52 to win Garrett’s first ever Division I, Region XX championship in any sport. The Lakers again made the trip to the National tournament in 2014 and 2015. Gibson’s teams have set every record at Garrett including most wins in a season, highest scoring average and producing numerous All-American and All-Region selections. In 2016, he was selected to the NJCAA Men’s Basketball Hall of Fame, held in Las Vegas, Nevada.
"Our philosophy is to play tough man defense and push the ball up the floor whenever possible," stated Gibson. "We also try to recruit the student-athlete that has a goal of continuing their career at the next level through education and basketball. Playing junior college basketball requires mental toughness and a great deal of maturity. Our athletes are required to be responsible for their actions on and off the court. We expect them to go to class, work with our tutors, attend study halls and keep their athletic planners up to date, ensuring their success. I personally do not care if our guys go to a Division I or II school; just that they are happy with their decision and know that getting a degree is the most important step in their life."
Coach Gibson and his wife Kerry reside in McHenry and their three children are also graduates of Garrett College: Jeseca, Kory, and Matthew.
“Playing at Garrett Community College was a great experience. Coach Gibson was willing to spend endless hours with me working on my individual skills. With Coach Gibson, everyone on the team will improve and, depending on their own work ethic, have a chance to play at a four-year institution.” - Dick Bender (1983-84), Associate Head Coach (Clemson University)