Larry Gibson

Larry Gibson was a 12-year-old boy, walking down the side of a road in Portland, Ore., when he was struck by a drunk driver. He spent almost two years in the hospital and 13 surgeries later, his leg was amputated seven inches below the knee. His life was changed forever.

Doctors told him that his athletic career was over, but Gibson refused to believe them without finding out for himself. He participated not only in wrestling, but also as a defensive end and kicker on his high school football team. He continued with both sports in college, earning four wrestling letters and serving as team captain for two years at George Fox College in Oregon.

After graduating in 1970 with degrees in sociology and psychology, Gibson began working for the Department of Social and Health Services in Omak and Spokane, Washington. He worked with mentally challenged youngsters and volunteered as a wrestling coach wherever he lived.

In 1973, he was on a small plane that crashed high over a mountain pass in Washington. As he and his fellow passengers trudged through waist-high snow hampered by his seriously damaged artificial leg and their broken bones, he made up his mind that upon rescue he was going back to school to become an educator.

For 16 years, from 1976-1992, he taught history and coached wrestling at Omak High School, compiling a record of 173-70-1. He also coached at Omak Middle School from 1984-1990 and from 1991-92 with a record of 80-1, winning eight district championships.

A club coach since 1972, Gibson was voted Washington’s Coach of the Year in 1991. He was inducted into the Washington State Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1995 and received his USA Wrestling Gold Level Coaches Certificate in 1997. He currently coaches “Patriot Wrestling” a freestyle and Greco-Roman club.

Gibson used his life experiences to become a nationally-known motivational speaker preaching a message of positive attitude, perseverance and putting as much living into each day as possible.

Awards:

Year
2010
Award
Medal of Courage
Chapter/Region
Washington
Year
2009
Award
Medal of Courage
Chapter/Region
National

Our Mission: To honor the sport of wrestling by preserving its history, recognizing extraordinary individual achievements, and inspiring future generations