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Long Beach volleyball icon Bill Gibson steps down as coach

Bill Gibson, Long Beach boys volleyball head coach,

Bill Gibson, Long Beach boys volleyball head coach, communicates with his players during a Nassau B-1 boys volleyball match against host Bellmore JFK on Sept. 26, 2019. Credit: James Escher

For 28 seasons, coach Bill Gibson has been the face of the Long Beach boys volleyball program. During that time, it has ascended to become an annual contender and captured five Nassau County championships. But now the Marines must soldier on without him.

Gibson, who has recorded more than 400 victories, has decided to step down as the Long Beach coach to pursue other avenues.

“He’s the father of Long Beach boys volleyball, an excellent coach and great mentor to those who have served on his staff,” Long Beach athletic director Arnie Epstein said.

“For me, coaching volleyball is a full-time job,” Gibson said. “I spend a lot of hours working with our team and not just during the season. I am going to need that time to figure out what I want to do next.”

Long Beach’s first four county titles under Gibson came in 1994, 2000, 2003 and 2008 when Nassau played the sport in the spring. Those teams never played the Suffolk champion — crowned in the fall season — for a Long Island championship. The Marines got their shot in 2019, but lost the Long Island Class B title match to Westhampton in five sets.

He held a job as an analyst and computer programmer before he decided to go for a master’s degree in education at Hofstra. Soon after he took the coaching position at Long Beach.

“[Gibson] is a real tactician and his cerebral approach to the game was always the key to success,” said former Marine Josh Ayzenberg in a telephone interview from Florida. Ayzenberg went on to play Division I men’s volleyball at Sacred Heart and now plays professionally overseas. “Nothing was ever black and white for him when it came to strategy. He always believed there was a way to find an answer.”

Gibson also has at times been an assistant coach for the girls volleyball team and the track and field programs while teaching middle school and high school science.

He said there are many things that he could envision doing, among them working in college coaching or returning to the tech sector.

Given his background, it's not surprising that Epstein called Gibson “one of the first volleyball coaches around to really use technology in preparing his teams.” Epstein recalled that about 15 years ago, Gibson began asking him for cameras for the program.

“With video, you can look for patterns in technique that players do incorrectly,” Gibson said. “It’s become an essential part of preparation for designing tactics for a match as well.”

It’s possible he will do some volunteer assistant coaching with the boys and girls volleyball programs next season.

“We hope that he will still be around and possibly do some volunteer assistant coaching” Epstein said, “but we are grateful already for all he’s put into our school.”

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