July 2, 2014
Cypress Springs head track and field coach Ruqayya Gibson is among 25 finalists for the Brooks Running Inspiring Coach of the Year award.
July 2, 2014—Cypress Springs High School girls' track and field coach Ruqayya Gibson is one of 25 national finalists for the Brooks Running Inspiring Coach of the Year award.
The award recognizes running coaches who take their leadership into schools, communities and the lives of their athletes. Gibson, who led the Panthers to a runner-up finish in the UIL Class 5A Track and Field State Meet in May, was nominated by Cypress Springs athletes and parents. She received a notification email two weeks ago.
"I screamed," Gibson said. "I couldn't believe that out of all the coaches in the nation, I had actually been chosen as a finalist."
The first-place winner will be determined by judges' criteria and popular vote on the Brooks Running Facebook page. Gibson is currently third in votes with more than 1,120.
"At first just being a finalist was good enough for me. I felt like that was rewarding enough," Gibson said. "Then as the fan voting began I gradually moved into the top three and I started feeling like we could actually help get more resources for Cy Springs. The equipment and funds that the winning school gets would be a huge benefit to the school."
The first-place gift recipient will receive $10,000 in Brooks merchandise for his or her high school team; $2,500 cash for additional team needs; membership in the Brooks ID Program for 2015; and a trip for two to the Brooks PR Invitational in 2015 in Seattle, Wash.
Twenty-four runner-up gift recipients will each receive $5,000 in Brooks merchandise for his or her high school team; $500 cash for additional team needs; and membership in the Brooks ID Program.
Voting will take place through July 31. Voters may vote once per 24-hour period. After the public voting has closed, the Brooks judging panel will re-score the finalist nominees using the score first given to the nominee by the judging panel and the number of votes the nominee received from the public. The original score and the public vote will each make up 50 percent of the nominee's final score.
Gibson's nomination description credited her for using track and hard work to earn a full scholarship to run in college, while using life lessons to inspire and motivate student athletes. She makes community service a priority with the Panthers, hosting an annual community fun run, offering a meal delivery service and volunteering at a local elementary school running club.
"I don't do what I do for awards; I do what I do to help change lives," she said. "The most important lesson I can teach any of my athletes is that they are meant to do something special with their time on this earth—that they are important and that anything they believe is possible can come to be."
Ruqayya Gibson helped lead the Panther girls’ track and field team to a runner-up finish at the UIL Track and Field State Meet in May.
Ruqayya Gibson was nominated for using track and hard work to earn a full scholarship to run in college, using life lessons to inspire and motivate student athletes and making community service a priority with the Panthers.