Gibson named Head Basketball Coach at D2 Arkansas Fort Smith

Photo Courtesy UAFS Athletics

University of Arkansas – Fort Smith Director of Athletics Curtis Janz announced that Zane Gibson will be returning to Fort Smith as the university’s men’s basketball head coach.

Gibson, a native of Chattanooga, Tenn., returns to UAFS after five seasons at fellow Lone Star Conference institutions UT Permian Basin and Western New Mexico, including the last three seasons as the head coach at WNMU.

“I’d like to thank Dr. Riley and Curtis Janz for the opportunity to lead the UAFS men’s basketball program,” Gibson said. “Both are tremendous leaders who have an excellent vision for UAFS. I could not be more excited to be joining their team again, as UAFS is a very special place to me and my family.”

Gibson quickly turned around the WNMU program, posting the school’s first winning season in 2022-23 with a 17-11 mark and winning the most LSC games in program history. In 2021-22, Gibson led the Mustangs to their first 10-plus win season since 2012-13.

“I’m really excited to have Zane Gibson as part of our UAFS Athletics family,” Janz said. “I believe he’s a great young coach with a tremendous future. I believe Zane relates extremely well to Generation Z and believe that our men’s basketball program is in good hands.”

A point guard himself, Gibson coached WNMU point guard Tony Avalos to back-to-back All-LSC seasons, including third team honors this past year.

Prior to Western New Mexico, Gibson served as an assistant coach on former UAFS coach Josh Newman’s staff for four seasons.

During his two seasons as an assistant at UAFS, Gibson helped guide the Lions to two Heartland Conference regular season championships, a Heartland Conference Tournament championship and two NCAA Tournament appearances and a NCAA II era school-record 24 wins in 2017-18, where the Lions reached as high as No. 4 in the polls.

“I was fortunate to be a part of some great teams when I was an assistant coach a few years ago and we are determined to reach those heights again,” Gibson stated. “Our goal is to not only have a great basketball team, but also to have even better young men and students in the Fort Smith community.”

Following his two seasons at UAFS, Gibson followed Newman to UTPB, where he was elevated to recruiting coordinator and then promoted to Associate Head Coach in year two.

Gibson was recognized by Silver Waves Media as one of 50 Impactful Division II Assistants while at UTPB and by the NABC as a 30-under-30 honoree in 2016-17.

Gibson played collegiately at Middle Tennessee State from 2009-14 and was part of MTSU’s all-time winningest class with 95 wins. He played in 59 career games and was a member of three Sun Belt Conference championship teams and one in Conference USA.

After his playing career, Gibson joined the coaching staff as a graduate assistant from 2014-16. His responsibilities included scouting, individual improvement, recruiting, scheduling and academics.

Gibson graduated from MTSU with a Bachelor of Arts in 2014 and a Masters in Leisure and Sports Management in 2016.

Gibson and his wife, Teal, have one son, Hutch.

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