Familiar face returning to coach Berthoud girls basketball

By Dan Karpiel

The Surveyor

Alan Gibson

Whoever it was that said you cannot go home again forgot to tell Alan Gibson.

Coach Gibson, after more than a decade-and-a-half-long absence as a Berthoud High School (BHS) coach, will return next winter as the head coach of the BHS girls basketball team. Gibson had formerly coached the Lady Spartans from 1997-2002.

Gibson will replace Randy Earl, who retired following the 2016-17 season after a 14-year run where he compiled 226 wins, won a pair of league titles, and took the Lady Spartans to the postseason 13 times. Coincidentally, Gibson will replace the coach he preceded.

Taking the reins of a program that has enjoyed as long and as consistent a reign of success is no small task. Yet it is a task for which Gibson is uniquely prepared, given his experience with and presence around the program, including the pair of back-to-back state titles the team won in the early 1990s.

“This is a position I am very excited about, that I feel very blessed about,” Gibson said in a telephone interview on April 24. “It’s kind of a back-to-the-future scenario and I am thrilled; it’s kind of amazing to be back.”

While Berthoud lost a trio of key seniors to graduation, the 2017-18 team will return a pair of young stars in freshman Emily Cavey and sophomore Sydney Meis as well three juniors who shined, particularly defensively, in Ashlee Burdette, Maddie Decker and Caisey Ellis. The current crop of talent is not lost on Gibson, who said, “There is no question that there is a good, solid foundation. Berthoud girls basketball is well-known throughout the state as a good program. We want to take that and make it rise even higher; that’s the challenge, to take it up another notch or two.”

Gibson explained, on the court, he is not married to one particular scheme and will instead work to get the most out of his players’ individual and collective skillsets, saying, “I have watched a little bit of film and I’ve tried to get a handle on their strengths … we will try to make the most of every athlete we have.” Gibson noted one of the staples of Earl’s tenure was the team’s strength on the defensive end of the floor, calling the Lady Spartans man-to-man defense, “great.”

Explaining his general approach succinctly, Gibson said, “I believe in being up-tempo, aggressive, and putting on pressure. You have two choices in basketball, you can react to your opponents or they can react to you, and we want them reacting to us on both ends of the floor.”

While Gibson has decades of experience, he explained he is not stuck in his ways and recognizes not only the way the game has developed, but also how coaching high school athletics has evolved. Like more and more of the competitive schools are doing these days, Gibson said he plans to push his philosophies through the developmental ranks below the varsity level.

“I really believe there is a difference between coaching a team and developing a program,” Gibson said. “I’ll be meeting with eighth graders and making connections with club teams. I thoroughly enjoy all aspects of a program and a system that goes as low as we go.”

Ultimately, Gibson explained he’s after a “positive experience” for everyone involved, from the varsity to the C-team players, to their parents and to the student body. “I’m so big on the program philosophy that this is a sisterhood, a sorority-type feel where everyone is there for each other,” Gibson said. “I’m really after a program that is coach-directed and coach-guided but team-led.”

Girls basketball will begin in early December.

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