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Former Austin High player Gibson named Packers' boys basketball coach

Jamaal Gibson, a 2010 Austin High graduate, has been named the new boys basketball coach for the Packers, replacing Kris Fadness.

Austin vs Sauk Rapids-Rice Boys Basketball
Austin head coach Kris Fadness, center, talks to his team during one of the seven state tournaments in which he guided the Packers. Fadness, who stepped down after coaching boys basketball at Austin for 25, is being replaced by former Packers player Jamaal Gibson.
Post Bulletin file photo
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AUSTIN — Jamaal Gibson has some big shoes to fill as he takes over as the head boys basketball coach at Austin High School, but he’s ready for the challenge.

Gibson, a 2010 Austin graduate, played boys basketball under head coach Kris Fadness, has been one of his assistants for the past six years and now gets the task of replacing the legendary Packers coach.

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The 30-year-old Gibson was recently named the Packers’ new coach.

“It’s extremely exciting,” Gibson said. “Obviously what Fads did to the program has made it a very attractive place to be. And having the opportunity to coach here the last six years and just kind of being around the program for as long as I can remember is awesome. I love the guys, the community and the support that the basketball program gets is incredible.”

Fadness had a 504-266 overall record in 29 years of coaching high school basketball. He guided Austin to seven state berths in 25 years, three Class AAA state runner-up finishes, a third-place finish and had more than 400 wins.


But Gibson doesn’t feel any pressure in taking over the program, which has been highly successful for more than a decade and is still stocked with talented players.

“I know everyone has high expectations for the program every year,” Gibson said. “But with basketball being such a talent driven sport — and we have talent especially this senior class we have coming in is just loaded with talent — I’m not too worried about it.”

Fadness also guided Caledonia to a Class A state title in 1997 and guided the Warriors to three state berths in a four-year span before taking over at Austin.

Jamaal Gibson mug.jpeg
Jamaal Gibson

Gibson was an assistant when the Packers were 17-14 last season and earned a state berth by winning a Section 1AAA title.

“We have a great group of kids who all want to get better at basketball,” Gibson said. “They all want to compete and they all want to win. I mean any coach would be lucky to have a group of guys like we do.”

Gibson admits he was greatly influenced by Fadness’ coaching and leadership style, both on and off the court. And while Fadness was more reserved on the sidelines, Gibson says he will be a little more animated.

“I have a lot of energy on the sidelines,” Gibson said. “I’m always clapping my hands and pacing up and down the sidelines and getting into it a little bit more. So that’s going to look very different, but in terms of practicing and preparing and paying attention to details and everything like that, I’ve picked all those things from him.”

Gibson said he is not as innovative as Fadness, who excelled on the offensive end and with a pressure 1-2-2 zone defense. Gibson said he has a more defensive approach and wants to limit teams from scoring.


“My philosophy is good defense leads to easy baskets and that’s what we want,” he said. “We want to score quick and fast because of our aggressiveness and because of the athletes we get here.”

Gibson, who works for the Austin Housing and Redevelopment Authority, said he will still give his players plenty of offensive freedom and will teach an aggressive style of play.

“We want to keep making exciting plays,” he said. “Our fans love those guys making exciting plays. I want us to keep making exciting plays; it’s more fun for our fans and more fun for our players.”

Guy N. Limbeck is a Rochester native who has been working at a daily newspaper since 1981. He has worked at the Post Bulletin since 1999. Readers can reach Guy at 507-285-7724 or glimbeck@postbulletin.com.
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