LAS VEGAS – Ed Gibbs (’01) transitioned from pushing heavy-duty trucks last week to extreme basketball viewing this week at the West Coast Conference Basketball Championships that culminate in tonight’s (Tuesday) men’s championship game at the Orleans Arena.
And he’s far from alone. Up to 16 members of his extended family join him in Vegas every year for the WCC Tournament. This year, a dozen or so family members joined him.
“We haven’t missed any tournaments since my freshman year in 1997-98,” Gibbs says. “We weren’t much my freshman year (the Zags were 24-10 and beat Wyoming in the NIT), but to see the Zags beat Florida in the Sweet 16 in Phoenix in ’99 with a last-second shot, was so exciting.”
Gibbs had no Gonzaga connections when he was considering where to go to school. “I wanted to pick a school with a good business program, a good study abroad opportunity and great athletics,” he says.
The Santa Barbara, California, native was looking at a number of schools, but there was something special about Gonzaga. A business administration major, he quickly became involved in the Hogan Entrepreneurial Leadership Program, lived in DeSmet Hall with several basketball players his sophomore year, studied in Florence, Italy, as a junior, and graduated with a big smile on his face.
Gibbs spent six years climbing the ladder at Navistar Financial Corp. in Chicago, as a lender, management trainee, analyst, supervisor and manager of the Midwest region credit department. But the lure of Southern California and the chance to join the family business – Gibbs Trucking – pulled him back home in 2006.
He enjoys a rewarding work and family life, and “This tournament is what I look forward to the most,” Gibbs said.
Three family members have followed his path to Gonzaga: cousin Chris Gibbs (’12); and sisters who attended Gonzaga-in-Florence – Tiffany (’00) and Alexandra (’10).
“We all come to the WCC tournament from different places – most from Santa Barbara, but some from Ventura, San Francisco, Salt Lake City and Chicago. We all stay at the same place. I think we have a terrific team this year, but I don’t want to jinx them,” he said.
“When we go to the tournament we watch every single game . . . that’s the highlight for us,” Gibbs added.
“When the Zags’ NCAA site is selected, we’ll find a way there, one way or another.”
The whole family participated in Sunday’s Zag Alumni Golf Tournament here. The 12 Gibbs golfers were divided into three foursomes, self-identified as Team Pangos, Team Karnowski and Team Bell.