Western Nebraska Community College removed the interim from Chad Gibney’s tile, naming the Lincoln Pius X (Lincoln, Nebraska) graduate head coach of the women’s basketball team this week.
Gibney, who served as the interim head coach during the second semester, is excited for the opportunity to lead the Cougar women.
“I am very excited for the opportunity to lead the women’s basketball program here at Western Nebraska,” he said. “We will be fully invested in the success of our athletes as people, students, and players. We will continue the excellence that has been Western Nebraska Women’s Basketball, and strive to put the best teams on the floor possible.”
Athletics Director Ryan Burgner said Gibney is a perfect fit for the program.
“Coach Gibney arrived at WNCC in August 2016 to assist our men’s basketball program,” Burgner said. “In the spring, not only did he continue coaching the men, he became the interim head coach of our women’s program. He then proceeded to lead the Lady Cougars to a 28-5 record, win the Region IX Championship, and a berth to the NJCAA women’s basketball national championship.”
Gibney takes over the program from Dave Harnish, who guided the program for 29 years. Gibney went 17-2 during the second semester that saw the Cougars reel off 16 straight wins. The Cougars captured their 13th Region IX title in program history.
Gibney never envisioned becoming a head coach this early in his career.
“This year was a unique experience,” he said. “I didn’t envision having the opportunity to lead a program at such a young age. I am very grateful the opportunity that Western Nebraska has provided for me. “
And, Gibney said, he learned from some of the best coaches, too.
“I have been very fortunate to learn from some great coaches,” he said. “This past season I was able to learn from one of the best coaches in the country in Cory Fehringer [WNCC men’s coach]. To be able to watch and assist him as he builds the men’s program was a tremendous experience. Then, having the opportunity to learn while leading the women’s team was extremely beneficial. I was able to learn and grow a tremendous amount throughout the year.
“Last year we were able to win regionals and make a trip to the national tournament. It was a neat experience for our girls to see their hard work pay off and get the opportunity to play the best teams in the country,” he said. “As a coach, it showed me what we need to do to be able to compete at the highest level. You always remember the experience and being able to spend time as a team. The national tournament was great because it allowed us more time to be able to compete for one another.”
Gibney models his coaching style after the many programs and coaches he has worked under.
“My coaching philosophy is to demand our best every single day,” he said. “Our goal is to win the day ahead of us. We demand a maximum effort, a laser sharp focus, and a team first upbeat attitude. Our players have to be energy givers not energy takers. These are all non-negotiable. On the offensive side, we want to beat teams up the floor in transition. We want to push the pace and make teams run with us. We will play inside-out basketball. On the defensive end, we want to pressure the basketball and make teams uncomfortable. We want to be able to keep the offense from getting comfortable and finding rhythm.”
Gibney played basketball at Lincoln Pius X but admits he wasn’t the best. From there his passion for coaching continued at Wichita State University where he didn’t object to doing anything for the team.
“I started my career as a student assistant for the Wichita State men’s program. I did the dirty, grimy work that no one else wanted to do,” he said. “I was fortunate enough to learn from some of the best coaches in the profession including Gregg Marshall, Chris Jans, Steve Forbes, and Greg Heiar. I stayed at Wichita State as a graduate assistant, prior to coming to Western Nebraska as the assistant men’s coach. I choose Western Nebraska because of the community support and the vision that Coach Cory had for the program. Western Nebraska is a great place and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead this prestigious program. I can’t wait to help guide these young ladies as students, players, and people.”