LeDawn Gibson is entering her fourth season as head coach of the Florida A&M University Lady Rattlers and comes into the year with high expectations.
Last season, Gibson led the Lady Rattlers to a 15-15 record, giving the Lady Rattlers a No.4 seeding and a quarterfinal round appearance to in the 2011 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Basketball Tournament.
During the season, FAMU raised eyebrows with road victories at the University of Alabama Birmingham and at East Carolina.
In her first season, Gibson's ladies posted a 14-17 record, as the Lady Rattlers surprised many by storming into the semifinals of the 2009 MEAC Tournament after being seeded seventh overall.
In 2009, Gibson led the Lady Rattlers to an 18-11 record, the first 18-win season for FAMU in ten years.
During that season, FAMU raised eyebrows with road victories
at the University of Florida and South Florida, and a home victory over the University of Alabama.
The former head girls basketball coach at nationally-regarded Winter Haven (Fla.) High School, Gibson has set her sights even higher in this, her fourth season - contending for the 2011-2012 MEAC title.
Gibson and her staff retooled the team in the offseason, bringing in a boatload of talented recruits in her quest for this year's conference title.
Gibson, 41, led Winter Haven High for 12 seasons, elevating the Blue Devils' program to a perennial contender for the state honors and vaulted them to Top 25 status in the USA Today National High School rankings.
The Blue Devils were ranked No.1 in the State of Florida for nine straight seasons (2000-08), while finishing in the USA TODAY Top 10 High School National rankings in the 2007-2008 season.
Winter Haven's clubs were ranked in the USA TODAY Girls High School Basketball Top 15 in both 2004-05 and 2006-07. The 2006-07 Class 5A Coach of the Year, Gibson was a six-time Lakeland Ledger Coach of the Year and was cited by the Winter Haven News Chief as its' Girls Coach of the Year from 1999 through 2008.
In her stint at Winter Haven, the Blue Devils compiled a scintillating 331-48 record, highlighted by two state championships in 2005 (Class 4A) and 2007 (Class 5A), seven Finals appearances, eight Final Four appearances overall, plus nine district eight regional titles.
In March of 2008, Winter Haven finished 30-2 overall, reaching the State finals for a fifth consecutive season, dropping a hard-fought decision to Naples Barron Collier High, just a year after winning the state title.
Twenty-eight (28) of her players advance to collegiate basketball careers, twelve (12) playing
for NCAA Division One level for such programs as Connecticut, Kentucky, Memphis, South Florida and Indiana.
Two of her players - LaQwesha Gamble (2005) and Tiffany Hayes (2008) were named Florida Miss Basketball.
Two members of Gibson's first recruiting class, Tameka McKelton and Antonia bennett, reached the 1,000 point plateau as just juniors last season. Additionally, Qiana Donald, also of that class, is poised to go after the MEAC rebounding and defensive player of the year titles.
Gibson is a graduate of Winter Haven High School and she holds a A.A. in Elementary Education from Polk Community College, a B.S. degree in Organizational Management from Warner Southern College in Lakeland, and an M.S. in Educational Leadership from Argosy University in Tampa.