He’s been a player on the field, a student in the halls of campus and now finds himself as a critical part of running the LSU baseball program.
Starting as the director of baseball operations in 2016, Micah Gibbs has found himself already rising in the ranks of the LSU clubhouse with another promotion going into this season.
With the departure of former hitting coach/recruiting coordinator Andy Cannizaro to Mississippi State, LSU’s head baseball coach Paul Mainieri decided to split the responsibilities between two current assistant coaches.
Gibbs will take over as hitting coach while former teammate and fellow assistant coach Nolan Cain will take over as the recruiting coordinator.
Even with the recent upgrade in coaching, Gibbs finds himself just as busy running baseball operations.
“Right now I’m doing anything and everything that is going on in the baseball facility or the club itself,” Gibbs said. “I’m in charge of setting up for Coach Mainieri’s baseball camp, I’m getting practice schedules set up for the players. It all runs through Coach Mainieri first but it’s a position in which you’re wearing many hats.”
Gibbs has seen the game from the perspective of the players and knows that having former players like himself, assistant coach Cain and Sean Ochinko on staff can help tremendously with the development of talent.
“I think having the experiences that we do and being able to handle the peaks and valleys of the regular season go a long way for these players,” said Gibbs. “We know how to take it one game at a time and how to be successful through the entire season.”
While being a former LSU baseball player gives Gibbs an ideal perspective to the players, his experiences as a journeyman in minor league baseball gives him insight to the world outside of Baton Rouge.
“The thing with me is that I want to give these players the truth,” Gibbs said. “It’s not for my gain here as a coach but I tell them what minor league baseball is like. I played my way all the way up to Triple-A baseball and I did not travel as well nor did I ever see as nice of facilities as I do here at LSU.”
After being drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the third round of the 2010 MLB draft Gibbs found himself traveling all around the country with different ball clubs trying to get a shot at making a major league roster.
His travels took him everywhere from the Independent League’s Grand Prairie Airhogs to the Omaha Storm Chasers of Triple A.
Collectively, Gibbs played for eight different ball clubs from 2010-2015.
During that time Gibbs said he experienced many lifestyle changes that could only be described as “minor league life”.
Some stories he told talked of cramped sixteen-hour bus rides to Canada, while others included a player losing his lunch over the smell of their hotel, which was down wind from a dog food factory.
As hectic as it may have sounded, not all experiences were bad for the assistant coach.
“The greatest thing about minor league baseball is the guys you meet,” Gibbs said. “You get to meet so many different characters from the Dominican [Republic], Haiti, Japan, and Korea. And best of all it’s your job to play baseball. It’s one of the best jobs you can have.”
Much like the passion he shows for the relationships he had in the minor league systems, Gibbs has shown that same level of passion for the Baton Rouge area.
“I love being around the people,” Gibbs said. “There’s something about the people of Louisiana. I don’t know if it is the Saints or LSU but the people are so invested here and the passion they bring for life and sports make it so great playing [and] coaching here.”
Going into this upcoming season it looks like Coach Gibbs will be adopting many of the same principles that have been instilled in Paul Mainieri’s offense, with heavy base stealing, hit and runs, and generating runs.
“We want to keep up that very aggressive offense and constantly be putting pressure on the defense,” Gibbs said. “We’re not going to get caught up in statistics. Each player is going to contribute in their own way and we’re just going to try to score more runs.”
“I want this team to feel that passion we did the championship season and experience what we did in 2009,” Gibbs said. “I feel that if we can do those things this is going to be a very special year for us.”
With experience and determination, Coach Gibbs will do his part in coaching the LSU Tigers when they open their 2017 baseball season at home against Air Force on Feb. 17.
Photo by Sean Gasser.