In one breath, she called it one of the most difficult decisions she’s ever had to make.
In another, she called it a “no-brainer.”
So, for now, Kathy Gibson has stepped down as head girls basketball coach at Issaquah after 15 seasons.
“I’m pretty sure I’ll be back someday,” she said. “Right now, this is what I’m going to do. I don’t think my career is over by any means, but I’ve got to take a break.”
Gibson’s reasons are simple – she wants to be able to watch her two oldest children play basketball. She coached daughter Quincey the last four seasons at Issaquah. Quincey is now at Linfield College in Oregon, where she hopes to play – and Kathy wants to be able to be in the stands.
“As a head coach at the high-school level, I know how much time I put in,” she said, “and I would not be able to go watch my daughter play, and I want to be able to do that. So, like I said it was such a hard decision because I’m so proud of what I’ve done at Issaquah and, Mount Si for that matter. Gosh, lots and lots of great memories, so that part was really hard to let go and cut the cord from that program. But at the same time it was really a no-brainer. . . . If I’m be a head coach at the high-school level, I’m going to do it 100 percent.”
And it’s not just Quincey, either. Ty Gibson was a starting guard for the Issaquah boys team as a sophomore last season, earning All-KingCo honors, and Kathy wants the flexibility to get to his games, as well – including a tournament in California.
Gibson has been one of the most successful coaches in KingCo, compiling a 382-148 record that included several league titles, mostly at the 3A level. The Eagles made eight trips to state during her tenure, taking home six trophies. Most notable was their appearance in the 3A championship game in 2006.
Issaquah was a heavy underdog to top-ranked Chief Sealth, then the defending champion, and nearly pulled off a stunning victory before a fourth-quarter lead slipped away in a 44-43 loss.
Chief Sealth was later stripped of the two state titles for recruiting violations brought to light by a Seattle Times investigation. Issaquah was not awarded the championship (which says “vacated” on the WIAA website), and Gibson didn’t quibble about it, although she still calls that game “a heartbreaker.”
She focuses on the positives.
“I remember the good stuff, and there was a lot of good stuff – great memories, really, really great memories,” Gibson said, “and I have great relationships with players and met some wonderful parents and all sorts of good things, even the officials.”
Prior to taking the Issaquah job, she coached six seasons at Mount Si, going 99-48 with three state appearances.
The Gibsons have one younger child, 10-year-old Camryn, who is a fifth-grader this fall. She, too, plays basketball (and soccer) and is hoping her mom returns in time to coach her when she enters high school.
Kathy Gibson isn’t making any promises at this point, but isn’t ruling it out.
“We’ll see,” she said.