Photo Courtesy of Southern Miss Athletics
While newly hired Cross Country Head Coach Nick Gibson has yet to coach at a Division One school prior to Southern Miss, his background in the sport runs deep through his experience and family.
On September 2nd, Southern Miss named Gibson as the new cross country head coach, shortly after long-time coach Aaron Kindt’s departure to Auburn.
“I’m very pleased to add Nick to our staff,” Southern Miss Track and Cross Country Head Coach Jon Stuart said of the hire. “I know that he will help us build upon the success that we’ve had.”
Gibson’s hire at Southern Miss marks his first stop at a Division One program, after coaching at numerous schools throughout his career.
Gibson’s coaching path traces back to when he realized early on that coaching was what he wanted to do after being an All-American at Shippensburg University.
After graduating from Shippensburg in 2015, Gibson volunteered as an assistant cross country and track & field coach at Queens University of Charlotte. For a stint, Gibson lead as the interim head coach. In this time, Gibson brought the Royals to its first conference title in cross country.
Next, Gibson then became the head coach at Limestone College, Salem International University and Northwest Missouri State University.
Gibson has the pleasure of having a family entrenched in the sport of track and cross country.
“I knew I wanted to coach growing up seeing my dad coach high school basketball, and going to the gym with him,” Gibson said.
Gibson’s dad, Jeff Gibson, is the Cross Country head coach at Duquesne University and his sister, Taryn, is the head coach of the University of Yale’s cross country team. Nick’s brother Kyle is at Drury University as the Head Coach for their cross country program. Last but not least, his mother also coaches at the high school level.
“It’s sometimes tough going home for the holidays because we try to leave work but we never leave work,” Gibson said. “We are always talking about running.”
Coach Gibson’s rise to the Division One level of athletics started at Shippensburg University, a division two school in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. There, Gibson graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree. On the track, Gibson became a four-time Pennsylvania State Athletics Conference champion. He added an All-American honor in the distance medley relay to his resume.
Now at Southern Miss, Gibson arrived with a couple of weeks to prepare for the team’s first meet on September 17th at the North Alabama Showcase.
“I’ve done a lot of quick transitions. It’s not the most fun but you get it done,” Gibson said. After a few weeks, you get into the swing of things. It’s just getting adjusted to the surroundings and how the organization works.”
Gibson said that he aims to continue the success that had been achieved prior to his arrival.
“[My goal] is to continue what they’ve been doing. They’ve been really successful before I got here,” Gibson said. “Coach Kindt and Coach Stuart have done a really good job before. I don’t like losing and I know Coach Stuart doesn’t.”
Still, Gibson sees his goal to take the program to even higher heights.
“The goal is to win the conference, recruit and build for the future. I want to make nationals as a team and I want to finish high,” Gibson said.
Returning runners Lina May, Cassidy Teuscher and Kate Maddox look to lead the way for the Golden Eagles this season.
Sophomore Cassidy Teuscher finished seventh in Conference USA’s Cross Country Championships last season, where she earned Freshman of the Year honors in her performance. Teuscher won this honor again in the indoor season also.
Junior Lina May, finished fourth in the 10k race at the Conference USA Outdoor Championships to finish with the second-best time in school history.
Graduate Kate Maddox has earned Third Team All-Conference for three straight years and looks to add another All-Conference honor. In the 2020 cross country season, Maddox finished 15th in the Conference Championships.
“Cassidy Teuscher and Lena May will be special, and Kate Maddox, she’s a beast. She’s going to be right behind them, Gibson said. But they’re [cross country team] all really fit and I’m excited to watch them race because I think they’re going to run some good times, “ Gibson said.