22 Aug 2014
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Athletic Field to Be Named After Former Track Coach

The 1973 Rogers High School Track team requested to name the track and field facilities after their former coach, Charlie Gibbons.

Athletic Field to Be Named After Former Track Coach

The unanimously voted suspend the policy to create a subcommittee beforing naming the track and field facilies at  after former track coach Charlie Gibbons during its meeting on Tuesday night.

Gibbons coached the 1973 track and field team, which will be inducted in the Rogers High School Athletic Hall of Fame on May 19. 

The 1973 Boys Track team was the only team in Rogers history to win the State Indoor, State Outdoor and New England Outdoor Track & Field Championships in the same year.

“It’s a great honor,” school committee Robert Leary said of his former coach.

Gibbons graduated from Rogers in 1952 and went on to graduate from the University of Rhode Island in 1956. He lettered five times and was named the most distinguished senior athlete in 1956. 

After graduation, Gibbons signed with the Montreal Alouettes football team and played in two exhibition games and six games before being released at the end of August. 

Gibbons left college to become a teacher, football and track coach at Rogers until he retired in 1990. He coached nine state championship football teams with Head Coach John Toppa, and led the Boy Indoor & Outdoor Track teams to more than 20 championships, a New England Championship, five Indoor State Championships and four Outdoor State Championships. 

He is also a member of the URI Athletic Hall of Fame, Providence Gridiron Hall of Fame, RI Football Coaches Hall of Fame, RI Track Coaches Hall of Fame, City of Newport Hall of Fame and Rogers High School Athletics Hall of Fame. 

The committee unanimously voted to suspend the current policy, which would require a subcommittee to be created to consider a list people to name the field after and submit a recommendation to the school committee, which would then have to be voted on.

School Committee Chairman Patrick Kelley said the boosters suggested naming the field be named after Gibbons to coincide with the induction, which did not leave enough time for a subcommittee to be formed.

The booster club has essentially acted as a subcommittee, Kelley said. He added that the committee did not take suspending the policy lightly and would not have done so if the timing had not been off.

The Newport City Council is scheduled to vote on resolution formally requesting the Newport School Committee to name the facilities in Gibbons' honor during its regularly scheduled meeting on May 9.

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