Under his watch, the Spartans racked up 52 individual Big Ten titles and hoisted three NCAA titles.
One of the Michigan State Hall of Famer’s notable accomplishments occurred in 1984 when he tutored Judi Brown in the Olympic games in Los Angeles. Brown claimed a silver medal in the 400-meter hurdles, representing the Spartans and her hometown of East Lansing, Mich.
Fast forward 37 years and another East Lansing native is headed to the Olympics. This time its Florida alumnae Taylor Manson, who you guessed it, also learned a thing or two from Bibbs.
“It’s almost like a dream — and she said that. Because she just graduated, it seems like yesterday, from East Lansing. And then four years later, she’s graduating from college and making the Olympic team,” Bibbs said recently in an interview with WILX News 10 in East Lansing.
Before Manson made the move south to sunny Florida, she was a star athlete at East Lansing High School where she learned from head coach Charles Pollard and Bibbs, who was a volunteer with the program.
Facing off against the nation’s finest competition in the talent-rich Southeastern Conference, Manson elevated her game at Florida and took home 10 All-America honors and garnered four All-SEC designations.
After an up-and-down indoor campaign this past year, Manson, the senior, knew she would need to come up big in the outdoor campaign to keep her dream of qualifying for the Olympics alive. Well, she did just that. At the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials on June 20 in the event’s final round, Manson recorded a personal-best mark of 50.79 in the 400 meters.
“I am extremely excited for Spider [Manson] because she – indoors didn’t go quite the way she wanted – and we had a talk afterwards. She told me she’s always wanted to be an Olympian and I said just remember there are no indoor Olympics so your goal of being an Olympian is still out there,” said Florida head coach Mike Holloway. “The great thing about her was that she trusted me and I trusted her. We trusted her training and she was right when she needed to be. She’s now an Olympian, so I’m extremely excited to see her compete.”
AT A GLANCE
SPORT: Women’s Track and Field
EVENT: 4×400 meter mixed relay
HOW SHE QUALIFIED: Finished seventh in the 400-meter run with a personal-best mark of 50.79 at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore.; the top eight finalists were selected for the 400-meter relay team.
TOKYO SCHEDULE: July 30 — Mixed 4×400 Relay (Round 1). July 31 — Mixed 4×400 Relay (Final).
UF CAREER: Manson, who wrapped up her collegiate career just this past season, was a 10-time All-American and four-time All-SEC selection for the Gators. Competing primarily in the 400-meter run and the 4×400-meter relay, Manson notched multiple top 10 times in her tenure as a Gator.
NEED TO KNOW: Manson is the first runner from her home town of East Lansing, Mich. to make the Olympics since 1984 when Judi Brown claimed a silver medal in the high hurdles. Jim Bibbs, the former Michigan State head coach, tutored Brown in ’84 and has helped train Manson as well.
QUOTE OF NOTE: “I met her at some track meets and I’ve talked to her and she’s given me some tips. It’s crazy how I’m also an Olympian. It’s come full circle, I’ll say that.” — Manson on her hometown connection to Brown.
Previously: “Gators In Olympic Games” Series
June 26: Cory McGee
June 27: Michelle Moultrie
June 28: Natalie Hinds
June 29: Adriana Leon
June 30: Enzo Martinez-Scarpe
July 1: Kieran Smith
July 2: Genevieve LaCaze Gregson
July 3: Will Claye
July 4: Mark Kolozsvary
July 5: Marife Torres
July 6: Aubree Munro
July 7: Leanne Wong
July 8: Hakim Sani Brown
July 9: Deanne Rose
July 10: Yanis David
July 11: Marquis Dendy
July 12: Lloydricia Cameron
July 13: Bradley Beal
July 14: Bobby Finke
July 15: Kelsey Stewart
July 16: Alfonso Mestre
July 17: Amro Al-Wir
July 18: Joseph Fahnbulleh
July 19: Doneisha Anderson
July 20: Eric Friese
July 21: Eddie Lovett