Mel Gibson was born in Cordova North Carolina and attended Rockingham High School where he was actively involved in sports. Mel participated in football, basketball and track. He was team captain, MVP, All-Country, All-Conference and All-State. He was selected and started for North Carolina in the annual High School Shrine Bowl; selected and started for East Team in annual East – West High School.
He was undefeated in the 100 yard dash, high jump and long jump during his senior year. He went on to sign a full basketball grant-in-aid to Western Carolina, receiving his B.S. and M.A.
During college at Western Carolina, he was a starter on the basketball team all 4 years, averaging 20.7 points in his final two seasons, leading the team to a 49-19 record and runner-up in the National NAIA Tournament in Kansas City. He ranked second in all-time career points (2020 points); ranked second in all-time career field goals made (836) and ranked sixth in all time free thro percentages (.752)
Mel’s college career included numerous awards and accolades…..first team All-Carolinas Conference, both junior and senior year, Greensboro Daily News All-State College and University Team, first team NAIA All-American Basketball Team, USA Pan American Basketball Team, USA Baseball Team starter in Sao Paulo, Brazil and second round draft pick for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Gibson has the highest NBA overall draft pick in WCU history. He signed on with the Lakers in 1964 and played during the ’63 – ’64 season splitting his time between the Lakes and the Wilmington, DE team in the Eastern Professional Basketball League.
Mel’s coaching career spanned over 2 decades from teaching and coaching at the high school level in Charlotte, Charleston and lastly at as Head Coach at UNC-Wilmington. He also served as assistant coach on a USA Select Team which won the Seoul Invitational Basketball Tournament in Seoul, South Korea and the Jones Cup Invitational Basketball Tournament in Taipei, Taiwan.
Gibson is listed in Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities, President of Physical Education Club, Western North Carolina and voted one of the top ten basketball players in WCU history. He was inducted in the Western Carolina and UNC-Wilmington Halls of Fame. His basketball number was retired at Western Carolina in 2006…only three have ever been retired.
He won 9 Gold Medals and 9 Silver Medals in his age group in the North Carolina Senior Games State Finals in Raleigh over the last eight years involving: running long jump, standing long jump and basketball shooting. He won Gold in the last three consecutive years in the running long jump.