“Her Nibs, Miss Ruth Ann Gibbs”[1] will be honored on Saturday, May 22 by the naming of the new Phillipsburg High School Softball Complex; the Ruth Gibbs Softball Complex. The dedication ceremony will take place at the beginning of the Phillipsburg vs. Easton home varsity softball contest.


This is an event long in the making but certainly worth the wait. “Miss Gibbs”, as she is respectfully known by her high school athletes, arrived at Phillipsburg High School in 1960 from East Stroudsburg University and spent the next 32 years of her life completely dedicated to PHS student-athletes. 


Few coaches in New Jersey or Pennsylvania mirror the dedication and success levels of Ruth Gibbs. Her achievements in softball are most-notable earning the following designations during a 9-year coaching span from 1971 to 1979:


1972 - East Penn League Champions

1973 - East Penn League Champions and

New Jersey State Champions

1974 - East Penn League Champions

1975 - East Penn League Champions and

New Jersey State Champions

1976 - East Penn League Champions and

New Jersey State Champions

In the spring of 1980, Ms. Gibbs went from Garnet and Grey to Scarlet and Black as an assistant softball coach at Rutgers University. During a 15-year time span at Rutgers from 1980 to 1994 her teams prevailed as Atlantic 10 Champions and made AIAW National Championship appearances.


After a two year retirement “Gibby” (as she is affectionately known at the collegiate level) was persuaded to return to the college ranks, this time as the head coach of the Muhlenberg College Softball Team. This 12-year stint lasted from 1996 to 2008 where she guided her teams to 5 Centennial Conference Championships.


Whether player or coach, Ruth Gibbs has been involved in softball for 48 years in New Jersey and the Lehigh Valley and is recognized as a top-rated player, coach, clinician, speaker and overall EXPERT in the field. Where ever she goes she creates a profound impact, so much so that she is a distinguished three-time Hall of Famer. Institutions such as East Stroudsburg University, the New Jersey Interscholastic Coaches Association and her alma mater of Wilson High School have acknowledged her amazing accomplishments. Local sports writers in the 70’s would routinely compare Miss Gibbs to Joe Paterno in success, integrity and love for their student-athletes. And in her spare time, she is a highly regarded field hockey official a task she has performed for more than 25 years.

Truly the PIONEER of girl’s sports at Phillipsburg High School, Ms. Gibbs was far more than a successful softball coach. She was the first Head Coach of Field Hockey, Basketball and Gymnastics. And, in her early years she was the Cheerleading Coach. During the 1975-76 school year, her Phillipsburg teams had garnered sectional state championships in three sports -- field hockey, basketball and softball; which was a first and last for any Phillipsburg coach, male or female.


In the classroom, Ms. Gibbs was a Health and Physical Education teacher and in 1977 she became the first female Department Supervisor, a job that lasted 15 years until her retirement from high school education in 1992. What’s more, she served a dual leadership role as the first female Athletic Director from 1982 to 1984.


Ms. Gibbs blazed a path of many firsts in her extraordinary career. And on May 22, she will be the first female to be recognized in Phillipsburg (via the designation of a place or an event) in the naming of the new Softball Complex. She will enter the elite ranks of great Phillipsburg leaders recognized for their remarkable qualities and achievements including:    


Michael Maloney - Stadium

Jim Ringo - Field house

            Neil Boyer - Band Festival

            John Morrow - FFA Barnyard Days

William Nixon - Veterans Day Tribute

     Harold Bellis - Field (at Maloney Stadium)

                And now, Ruth Gibbs - Softball Complex


When asked what she feels is her greatest accomplishment Ms. Gibbs states, “Accomplishment? No….. working with great young female athletes who went on to do awesome things on and off the field, academically and athletically -- becoming teachers, coaches, doctors, lawyers, and mothers. Likewise, many of the mothers’ daughters have followed in their footsteps to excel in athletics at the high school and college levels.  That…..was my privilege!


Hundreds and hundreds of athletes have triumphed on and off the field under the tutelage of this Legend in Phillipsburg Athletics. In the storied history of Phillipsburg High School Sports, Miss Ruth Ann Gibbs is a central figure. The athletic department and alumni are grateful for the significant contributions she has made for 32 years, particularly within the softball program. It is because of these contributions, that it is most fitting that the Phillipsburg community bestows Ms. Gibbs the honor of dedicating the new softball complex in her name.

[1]Her Nibs, Miss Ruth Ann Gibbs” is a title that was given to her in a front page article in The Express sports section written in the spring of 1976. The article appeared shortly after she harvested her 3rd New Jersey State Softball Championship in 4 years. In that same year, Ms. Gibbs teams had won State Sectional Titles in Field Hockey and Basketball. 


"Ruth Gibbs.....She's the Real Thing!"