The WPI basketball and football teams, as well as the entire athletic department, mourn the loss of venerable PA announcer William M. "Bill" Gibbons who passed away June 5. The longtime educator and coach was an icon in the Central Mass. basketball and tennis communities.
"When you think of WPI Athletics and the voice of the Engineers, you only think of one name and there is only one voice that will ever be the real representation of our football program and Alumni Stadium," said football head coach Chris Robertson. "Mr. Gibbons was a big voice with an even bigger heart and we will all miss him dearly."
"Bill's joy and enthusiasm for young people and sports will be greatly missed along with his big smile every time you saw him," remembered Director of Athletics Dana L. Harmon. "Of course he made our events better with his announcing but more importantly, he made us all better for knowing him. He was one of the best men that we have had the pleasure of being around and our WPI Athletics Family will miss him greatly."
A gifted athlete, he was very active in sports throughout his life, playing, coaching and officiating. A mainstay at the Hart Center basketball table for 28 years, Mr. Gibbons kept a busy schedule, working games at Wachusett, Clark and, of course WPI, primarily as the PA announcer. He was also involved with the Clark Tournament since its origin and was the MIAA state tennis tournament director for 54 years.
"The game started, and some kid made a hoop," recalled men's basketball head coach Chris Bartley about his first home win, "and I heard this voice, 'and the dipsy-do!' in his incredibly unique style. He had a voice that resonated with everybody, and that became part of the tradition."
He was fortunate to receive many awards and accolades during his career including the 2009 Frank C. Harrington (1898) Award that recognizes individual and/or entities that through the years have been distinguished and significant contributors to the WPI Athletics Program. Within the basketball community, in particular the Worcester Area College Basketball Association (WACBA), the Clark and Becker hall of famer was the 1987 Paul N. Johnson Award recipient and the inaugural Pat Oroszko Courage Award honoree in 2017.
"He was a huge part of the WPI community, part of the family," said women's basketball head coach Cherise Galasso. "He was a fixture. He was the voice of WPI. He was invested. He truly cared. He took a special interest in people. He enjoyed being around the game and the team and being a part of it."
Calling hours will be on Friday, June 8th from 4pm until 8pm at O'Connor Brothers Funeral Home, 592 Park Avenue. The funeral Mass of the Resurrection is Saturday, June 9th at 10am at Christ the King Church, 1052 Pleasant Street. The Rite of Christian burial will follow at St. John's Cemetery.
Contributions may be made in Bill's memory to the Catholic TV Mass and Rosary Program, 49 Elm Street, Worcester, MA 01609 or to Christ the King Church.
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