Ravenscroft has announced that Ned Gonet will retire as head coach of the varsity football program at the end of the 2022-23 football season — his 42nd year at Ravenscroft. He will continue serving in his role as Athletic Director. Assistant Athletic Director and longtime assistant football coach Jim Gibbons will take over the program in 2023-24.
Originally hired in 1981 as Athletic Director and head football coach, Gonet has dedicated his career to cultivating students’ fitness and emphasizing lifelong health, discipline, sportsmanship and teamwork. Under his leadership, Ravenscroft has won seven football conference championships, competed in seven state football championships and won five state titles — in 1985, 1989, 1994, 2000 and 2015.
He has also served Ravenscroft’s broader athletics community in leadership and board roles. In 2004, he became a Certified Master Athletic Administrator. He served as the North Carolina Shrine Bowl head football coach in 2006 and 2008 and as an assistant in 2005 and 2010. He has received many honors including the Contribution to Amateur Football Award presented by the Triangle Chapter of North Carolina of the National Football Foundation and the College Hall of Fame. He was named Wake County Coach of the Year in 1994 and received the Chuck Carter Athletic Directors Achievement Award in 2015.
Gonet has been inducted into three Halls of Fame: the Ravenscroft Athletic Hall of Fame (2008); the George Whitfield Hall of Fame, for his contributions to North Carolina high school athletics (2017); and, in 2019, in the inaugural class of Oakton High School’s Hall of Fame.
“We are grateful for Ned’s loyalty and consistent commitment to preparing student-athletes to compete and helping them maximize their potential,” Head of School Doreen Kelly said in the announcement. “We thank him for his sustained dedication and many contributions to Ravenscroft’s football program.”
Gibbons came to Ravenscroft in 2008, bringing with him extensive experience in both playing and coaching football at the college and high school levels. Jim played for Coach Jim Butterfield at Ithaca College and was a member of the 1988 Division III National Championship team. Between 1990 and 2002, he coached at Wingate University, University at Buffalo, Buffalo State College, Cornell University and Ithaca College and then spent five years as a physical education teacher and an assistant coach for football, wrestling and baseball at the Westminster Schools in Atlanta.
In addition to serving as head coach for varsity baseball for 10 years, Gibbons is the faculty advisor for Student Athlete Leadership Training program, which he formed in 2008 to support students in building the skills needed to serve as leaders of their teams. Each year, 40-45 juniors and seniors in the program learn and practice strategies for team building, improving communication and managing team conflict.
Gibbons and his wife, Liz Burnette Gibbons ’96 — herself a member of the Ravenscroft Athletic Hall of Fame — have three Ravens in the Lower School: Libby ’30, Weezie ’30 and Ward ’34.
“With Jim’s passion for sportsmanship, leadership and teamwork and his depth of experience and knowledge of Ravenscroft, I’m confident of a smooth transition for our football program,” Kelly said in closing. “We look forward to celebrating Ned’s retirement as football coach in the months ahead, and we remain grateful for his ongoing leadership as our Athletic Director.”