I was deeply saddened to find out via Seth’s article on Sunday of the passing of a great sports writer and friend, Rich “Hoot” Gibson. Hoot not only was a friend of mine, but a dear friend of my parents, Ray and Bette Ponzo.
Personally, I first met Hoot when he did an article on me after I had completed my college basketball career at West Liberty State College. He had given me great press throughout both my high school and college careers. Hoot also was a common friend of John “Gizzle” Cizewski, who at the time, was in the public relations department of the Detroit Pistons.
I’ll never forget when I was coaching at Bellaire when he called and asked if I wanted to go to the Palace at Auburn Hills and see the Pistons play the Lakers. He knew both my father and myself followed the Lakers avidly. We got to the game and we were given the royal treatment by “Gizzle” and we had seats in the press row on the court. After the game, Hoot had arranged to have me meet some of the Pistons and Lakers and to also get Magic and Kareem’s autographs for my dad, and for one of my Bellaire players, Danielle Wilkes.
It was the time of my life to meet these famous basketball players at age 23. This was Hoot though, very low key, but a great individual and a fantastic sports writer. When both my parents passed, he spoke very kind words about them in The Times-Leader, which was deeply appreciated.
He will be sadly missed by both the sports world and by his dear friends.