Brandon, Gibbs make LHS hall legit
Lebanon High paid a long overdue honor to Campbell Brandon and Hester Gibbs by inducting the 28-year basketball coaches into the school's Sports Hall of Fame.
It wasn't that the school ignored the coaches who led the teams to 1,179 hardwood victories between them. Two separate gyms have their names attached to them.
But when then-athletic director Denise Joyner started the Hall of Fame ball rolling in 2007, 13 worthy names were enshrined as part of the inaugural class. There should have been 15.
Brandon, a name synonymous with girls' basketball, posted 679 victories, one of which was the school's only TSSAA team championship, in 1971. Those wins alone make him the school's winningest coach across all sports. They don't include games he won for a decade or so after establishing the softball program in 1982. He also coached track and cross country, though I'm not sure how you would add up coaching victories in those individualistic sports.
I suspect when the end of time arrives, Brandon will still be the school's winningest coach, if it matters.
Gibbs won exactly 500 basketball games. He also coached football for a couple of years, guiding the Blue Devils to their first playoff appearance, in 1982. Most people don't realize he also coached baseball early in his career. Brandon told me on more than one occasion that Gibbs took the Blue Devils closer to the State Tournament in that sport than any other coach. Judging by an old yearbook I was once loaned, I would say it was the 1961 team which fell one win short.
Both coaches have long been enshrined in the TSSAA Hall of Fame.
A Lebanon High School Sports Hall of Fame without Campbell Brandon and Hester Gibbs is like the Baseball Hall of Fame without Babe Ruth or Hank Aaron.
Last night's Class of Six brings the number of members to 26 individuals or teams. All are deserving and no doubt even more worthy names will be brought forth in the coming years. After all, a school with an athletic history over 90 years long will take a long time to give everybody his or her due.
But the additions of Brandon and Gibbs give the Hall much-needed legitimacy.
Sports Editor Andy Reed can be reached at 444-3952, ext. 17; or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org