James Bibbs coached track and field at MSU from 1968 through 1995. His deep commitment to youth and passion for the sport has gained the respect of countless colleagues, athletes, parents, and friends nationwide.
The theme for MSU Homecoming 2022 is Spartans Bring the Magic.
“Being grand marshal might be the greatest honor I’ve received, and I’ve received quite a few honors. I’m proud to be the grand marshal for a great institution like Michigan State.”
Bibbs says he was coaching in his hometown of Ecorse, Michigan, when MSU Athletic Director Biggie Munn called to ask if he’d like to coach at Michigan State and says it was an offer he couldn’t refuse. He talks about the mentor who inspired him to go into teaching and coaching.
He also talks about how both the sport of track and field and student-athletes have evolved over the years. And he recalls some of his favorite memories from his legendary Spartan career.
“The greatest memory I have of Michigan State is one of the relays we hosted when Herb Washington broke the world record in the 60-yard dash and Marshall Dill broke the world record in the 300-yard dash. Then our sprint medley relay team that included Washington and Dill missed setting the world record by, I think, two tenths of a second.”
Bibbs says he doesn’t concern himself about his legacy because “that’s something that other people decide.”
If there was one thing you want to pass on to future generations, what would it be? What advice or lesson would you give them?
“Take school seriously. If you make it, school is plan B. But if you don’t make it, it becomes plan A. But even if you make it in athletics, usually you’re doing it with your body. And unless you’re LeBron James, your career is usually over in your mid 30’s. You better have something to last you for the rest of your life. And when I say school, it can be college or a trade, but find something that can help you be gainfully employed and support your family.”
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MSU Today is a lively look at Michigan State University-related people, places, events and attitudes put into focus by Russ White. The show airs Saturdays at 5 P.M. and Sundays at 5 A.M. on 102.3 FM and AM 870 WKAR, and 8 P.M. on AM 760 WJR.