Monday, August 12, 2013

Marist's Gebbia Gets Well-Earned Chance at American

They first came in contact at a chance meeting at an airport in Kansas when both were on a recruiting trip.

Marist coach Brian Giorgis has called that serendipitous connection that day in 2003 "divine intervention."

Gebbia was an assistant coach at Wright State at the time and was looking for another opportunity. Giorgis liked what he heard about Gebbia's approach to the sport and, soon, hired her as one of his assistant coaches.

Three years later Gebbia became the program's associate head coach and, in subsequent years, has been recognized as arguably the top assistant coach in the MAAC, if not one of the better ones at any program nationally.

Divine intervention, indeed. In Gebbia's 10 years as Giorgis' assistant, Marist has played in the MAAC's championship game all 10 seasons and has won nine, including the last eight.

But, every assistant coach wants to take that next step and become a head coach. And, that opportunity came for Gebbia earlier today when she was named head coach at American University of the Patriot League.

Bittersweet was the general reaction after the announcement came.

"It is a bittersweet day for me as I say goodbye to a place that has been my home for the past 10 years," Gebbia said, in a statement released by Marist's sports information office. "In my time at Marist I have had so many memorable experiences and I cannot thank Marist College, Brian Giorgis and the surrounding community enough for their support. I will miss being a Red Fox, but I am anxious to start the next phase of my coaching career as the next head coach at American University.

"I feel American is a perfect fit for me academically, athletically and geographically as I have the chance to be close to my family," added Gebbia, a native of Fredricksburg, Md., about 50 miles away from American's Washington, D.C., loction.

"Today is a bittersweet day for the Marist women's program," said Giorgis, in the statement. "We are ecstatic that Meg is becoming a Division I head coach at a tremendous academic school. It is something she has worked hard for. I am sure she will have great success. At the same time, we are losing a great asset. We can't thank Coach Gebbia enough for what she has done here. She has been an intricate part of the success we have experienced over the past decade and she will be sorely missed."

Gebbia, reportedly, was offered the same position five years ago but turned it down at that time. She now replaces Matt Corkery, who had a 101-53 record in five seasons at American and recently left to become associate head coach at Texas Tech.

Reports indicate that Gebbia had also been offered the head coaching position in recent years at St. Mary's (Md.) and had interviewd at Virginia Commonwealth and High Point.

"I just want her to be happy," said Giorgis, about Gebbia's previous flirtations with other programs. "If she goes .. if that's what she wants ... it's with our blessing."

Gebbia was the second-longest tenured MAAC assistant coach this past season (Christi Abbate had been Tony Bozella's Iona assistant for 11 years).

In all, she has been an assistant coach for 18 years. In addition to a season at Wright State, she was an assistant for six seasons at UMBC and for one year at Towson, her alma mater.

"I am extremely excited about getting my first head coaching position," said Gebbia, in a statement released by American University. "I am grateful ... for this opportunity to be part of an outstanding university that attracts quality student-athletes. This is an exciting time to be part of the AU community, and I look forward to the challenges ahead.

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