PITTSBURGH — Ashton Gibbs has been a name known for his on-court accomplishments in Pittsburgh and while that will continue, he will now be wearing a much different type of uniform.
Gibbs announced Thursday on his Twitter page that he will be on Duquesne’s coaching staff with a university spokesperson confirming his title as assistant director of operations.
Previously, Gibbs played for Pitt from 2008-2012.
“I had heard nothing but good things and so far, everything has been great,” Gibbs said. “I really have no complaints and I’m glad to be here. I live in Pittsburgh for the most part, so it was an easy decision. Obviously Pitt is Pitt, it will always be in my heart, but I had an opportunity here and I took advantage of it.”
Hope but never expect, look forward but never wait.
Focused on the future, what up Duquesne!..Happy to be a part Coach Dambrot’s coaching staff now. Thanks to everyone who played a part in my playing career! Nothing but love. Excited for the next chapter.. pic.twitter.com/Yw8GoqBnJo
— Ashton Gibbs (@AshtonGibbs12) January 24, 2019
Gibbs did have a connection to Duquesne coach Keith Dambrot through Kwan Cheatham who the former played with last season in Belgium and the latter coached at Akron.
It was going to take a unique situation for Gibbs to want to commit to the situation, but comparing Cheatham’s notes to what has been experienced at Duquesne, the one-time guard is a very happy camper.
“Coach is very detailed, I would say a perfectionist to an extent with what I have seen so far,” said Gibbs. “I think it is very similar to Coach (Jamie) Dixon. They have similar traits in the way they approach the games where they look at different details on the offensive and defensive ends. Off the court, he is a great guy overall where you can talk to him just like a normal person. Sometimes you can’t do that with head coaches. It’s like being one of the guys, he is very genuine and hospitable.”
Gibbs first started at Duquesne as a volunteer decision, with his first game coming Dec. 31 against NJIT.
Dambrot considered Gibbs’s presence at Duquesne a “trial run” after the NJIT run, but after a conversation in the team office in which it was clearly stated that there was mutual interest, everyone was ready to proceed.
“I always wanted to coach, I knew I was going to get into coaching but just didn’t know when it would be the right time,” Gibbs said. “I just felt this is the right time and he gave me the opportunity and I wanted to take advantage. I still miss playing for the most part but at the end of the day, it’s past me, I am focused on making other players better. I’m glad to be here.”
This move essentially puts an end to Gibbs’s playing career and he does admit to missing it, at least for the most part.
Still, Gibbs truly enjoys being at Duquesne and believes that he is a part of something special.
“It’s a young team that has a ton of potential,” he said. “They play very hard and are a great group of guys. That was probably our best attribute when I was at Pitt, we had good attitudes and worked really hard. These guys listen to Coach Dambrot and work hard. The proof is in the pudding, we are having a great season so far and hope it continues. Being a young group comes with growing pains as well, I’m just happy to be part of this group and I think they are gravitating towards me.”
Assessing Duquesne, Gibbs quickly mentioned the defensive end, which is an area Dambrot takes a lot of pride in. Many on the team can defend and save for the Saint Louis game, rebound the basketball and that is where games have been won as of late.
It is defense first and then getting got shots on the offensive end that reminds Gibbs most of his Pitt teams.
Having these closer in place has given Duquesne more confidence as a program, though Gibbs believes the team has always had this confidence but has just been waiting for the opportunity to display it.
Gibbs feels Duquesne has the right balance of aggression and desperation, with each day being an opportunity.
“That’s really what I base my game off of playing,” said Gibbs. “It’s very similar in that I know nothing will be given to me, but that’s just what I’m going to do. Every single day, work hard, try to be the best person, the best coach, the best teammate I can be overall.”
Seeing Gibbs as a coach may throw some off, especially nostalgic Pitt fans, but he has wanted to coach for a while and now has the opportunity to do just that.
“I’ve always had an innate ability to try and make others better and in the summer time sometimes I would help kids,” Gibbs said. “It’s always been a part of me, now it’s just a job. I knew sooner or later, I would get one and at the end of the day I am all about the players, staff and team overall, whatever I can do to help, I am all in here at Duquesne for sure.”