Columbus, Ga (WRBL) – When the Columbus Lions were established Jason Gibson was hired to be the first head coach in team history. Since then he’s been the only head coach in team history, but on Tuesday morning Coach Gibson announced he will step down.

Coach Gibson made the announcement on the Columbus Lions website in a heart felt letter. In his 16 years leading the Lions, he’s won three championships. He led the Lions to seven championship game appearances. He says he’s coached over 200 games for the Lions.

In his letter Gibson said it was just the right time to move on and do what’s best for his family. Even though it’s time to move on Gibson said it was hard to say goodbye to this loyal fanbase and this city.

“It’s difficult. I’m going to lie to you. It’s you know, like I said, it’s part of your life. It’s great people, great fans, great ownership, great people. Football is so much fun, because it’s about relationships. Sports is about relationships. Playing in the Civic Center, it was always a difficult place to play because our fans care so much about it. And anytime you spend 17 or 16 years somewhere, you know, you build those. Forever grateful, very blessed to have met every single one of them. You know them by name. You know where they live. That’s a good feeling to me, and just really blessed.”

Jason Gibson – Coached Columbus Lions for 16 years

Damian Daniels, the all-time franchise leader in interceptions, eventually came back to the franchise as the defensive coordinator. He explained why Jason Gibson is so loved among former players.

“Just the passion that he’s shown man over these years. I was here since day one, and just to see a guy come in to a city and do the things that he did and to do it that long. It was just a pleasure to watch man. I think all of his players, especially the guys that have been around for most of the years. You know they have great relationships with him. Like you said when he calls there’s always going to be a chance that something may happen,” said Daniels.

Jason Gibson also said he won’t be involved with the Columbus Lions after stepping down as their head coach.
Here’s the full letter Coach Gibson released on the Columbus Lions website:

Lions Nation,
I want to personally thank you for your support over the last 16 seasons. From day one, my goal has been to represent the Lions organization in a first-class manner on and off the field. The Lions has been my life from the beginning but It’s with a heavy heart that after 16 years, 200 plus games, 7 championship appearances, 3 titles, 15 playoff appearances, and 750+ players, I am stepping down as the head coach of the Columbus Lions.
At some point there comes a time to move on, and this is that time. I owe it to myself and my family to do what is in the best interest of “my team”.
There are so many people to thank, I don’t even know where to start but I will try.
Grateful is what comes to mind when I think of all the past and present owners who have sacrificed their time and money for this team and my lively hood.
It would be impossible to thank every business out of fear of missing someone. I am forever indebted for your support.
To all the players, thank you! I have been able to coach outstanding athletes, men, and dads. The relationships that we build through the grind of this game is something I will cherish forever.
To all my coaches past and present, it has been a great ride. Thank you.
To the fans, thank you for your never ending support. I knew we had an advantage every time we stepped into the Civic Center because of you. Thank you to the tailgate group, from the weekly home cooked meals to the send of parties, I can’t say enough.
And as always, for my number one fan and biggest supporter, my beautiful wife Sarah, I am forever yours.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
God Bless and Roar Lions Roar,
Jason Gibson