COVINGTON, Ga. — Charlemagne Gibbons is leaving his post as head coach of the Newton Rams’ basketball program to take the same position for the Gainesville Red Elephants.
Though Gibbons confirmed the move to The Covington News Monday evening via text message, it was made official Tuesday morning.
Gibbons shared the reasoning by his decision to make the transition.
“I just think overall, the potential long term ceiling for my family, No. 1, is going to be higher than it was here,” Gibbons said. “They have some things in place there with Gainesville’s facilities and the commitment to athletics from a financial standpoint for my coaching staff and myself. And then just the long term vision they have to continue to grow their athletic programs over the next five to 10 years, I really like the vision that I saw.”
The news was first reported by Access WDUN and, according to their report, Gainesville athletic director Adam Lindsey sent a press release Tuesday morning.
“We couldn’t be more excited to have (Charlemagne) Gibbons join us,” Lindsey said. “What his teams have accomplished in each of his coaching stops speaks to the coach he is, but when you look at how he’s been able to cultivate individual talent, that doesn’t happen unless you can build relationships, and that’s when you start to realize what a special human exists in that resume, too.”
The Rams’ concluded the 2022-23 season at 19-11 overall along with a 9-2 record in Region 4-AAAAAAA and finished as region runners up behind Grayson for the third straight season.
Less than two weeks ago, the fourth-year head coach led the Rams one last time in the Elite Eight of the Class AAAAAAA playoffs that ended in a heartbreaking 58-56 overtime loss to Norcross.
Nearly 365 days prior, Newton's season ended in the Final Four, losing to Norcross 75-72 on March 5, 2022 at Buford Arena.
Newton advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in the 2020-21 season before losing 87-59 to Pebblebrook on the road — a loss the Rams avenged this past season beating Pebblebrook by 22 points on Feb. 25 at home to advance to the Elite Eight.
Across the past four seasons, Gibbons compiled a 76-36 record overall and went 8-4 in the postseason. Gibbons was also awarded the 2022 Region 4-AAAAAAA Coach of the Year.
Not only did Gibbons coach the Rams against some Georgia powerhouses, such as Feb. 6's ESPNU broadcasted matchup against Wheeler, but he took them nationwide during his tenure.
Just this past season, Newton traveled to face Duncanville High School in Texas and then against IMG Academy in the Hoop Hall Classic played in Springfield, Massachusetts. The Rams also won the City of Palms Tournament in Fort Myers, Florida after beating teams like Charlotte High School and Tampa Catholic — both based in Florida.
That’s not to mention last season when the Rams claimed the 2022 Sugar Bowl National Prep Classic tournament championship in Westwego, Louisiana.
Newton went 4-0 in that tournament beating John Curtis Christian (in Louisiana), St. Mary’s High School (in Arizona), Westminster Academy (in Florida) and downed Beaumont United out of Beaumont, Texas 67-54 in the title game.
In addition to Gibbons’ team success on the hardwood, he has also coached some high profile athletes including 5-star, McDonald’s All-American, UCONN commit Stephon Castle. Additionally, 4-star prospect, McDonald’s All-American nominee and Indiana signee Jakai Newton helped headline this year's Newton squad that started the 2022-23 season nationally ranked.
Gibbons will take on a Gainesville Red Elephants squad that's seen a bit of turmoil at the program's helm over the last couple of seasons. Coach Chuck Graham was ousted after the 2021-22 season ended with a 5-18 finish, but was given his job back before the start of the 2022-23 campaign. Gainesville (14-11, 7-5 in Region 8-AAAAAA) ended this season with a 76-68 loss to Habersham Central in the first round of the Class AAAAAA playoffs.
This story will update as we receive further information.
Publisher and Editor Gabriel Stovall contributed to this report.