Connect with us

Local News

Sports Spotlight: Gibson & Wingenbach



Bismarck, North Dakota – Two legends pace the sidelines of every football game between Century and Bismarck High School.

Together, Mark Gibson and Ron Wingenbach have spent 59 years leading the capital city’s teams as head coaches.

“Ron’s a standup guy who’s very competitive, but on the flip side of that, he does things right,” said Mark Gibson, Bismarck High football head coach.

“I think the one word I would echo is respect. We have to utmost respect for their staff, coach Gibson, their players,” said Ron Wingenbach, Century football head coach.

In 1990, Wingenbach took over a Patriot program that was still struggling to gain traction. In 1999, Gibson took over for the late Bob Feeney as an employee.

“The crazy part about the whole thing, when I first got here in 1999, Dickinson High was actually our biggest rival. I want to say the early 2000′s, I credit coach Wingenbach and his staff, they got that thing turned around. Since then, they’ve been one of the mainstays,” said Gibson.

Gibson and Wingenbach have shared a field thirty times since Gibson was hired twenty-five years ago. They’ll be the first to admit that there are similarities between some of their strategies.

“You can see the main elements within both programs. You know, schematically in the run game, we are very, very similar. We may do it out of different formations, but the core belief of what we want to get accomplished is very similar,” said Wingenbach.

On the field, Gibson and Wingenbach are renowned for their steadiness. They want to leave with the greatest impact possible.

“Above all, we’ve had great athletes. We’ve had great kids that mean a lot to me. Both on and off the field, to see them succeed outside of playing is something that is way more important than state championships,” said Gibson.

“I think you can walk around town and people will say ‘Hi, coach.’ I think that’s one of the best things I can ever hear. As long as that work ethic is being displayed, I’m very proud of them,” said Wingenbach.

438 victories and ten state titles total—plenty of accomplishments for the town to be proud of.

“High school football in Bismarck/Mandan is very important. I don’t know if some point in time you could always say that, but high school football is huge in Bismarck. I’m glad to be part of it, and I’m sure Mark would say the same,” said Wingenbach.

“When the Bowl is packed, a lot of people in the community are out watching the game, this city has done a good job backing both programs, and it’s certainly something that I’m sure (Ron) is, and I’m proud of as well,” said Gibson.

Tomorrow night’s game between the Patriots and Demons will conclude their regular seasons.