A father’s letters to his sons on Senior Day, 22 years apart

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Emerson Gibbs, with father Larry at his side, signing his national letter of intent with Tulane in November 2011. (Courtesy Jesuit High School)
Emerson Gibbs, with father Larry at his side, signing his national letter of intent with Tulane in November 2011. (Courtesy Jesuit High School)

Larry Gibbs is a successful businessman. He’s also a very good wordsmith who isn’t afraid to use those words to tell all of New Orleans just how much he loves his children.

Twenty-two years ago this month, Gibbs’ son Brian was completing his senior season as a left-handed pitcher at Tulane. It was a special year, as Gibbs and his senior teammates would reach the NCAA Tournament in Rick Jones’ first season as coach.

On Tulane’s Senior Day in 1994, Larry Gibbs purchased a newspaper ad to express his love and appreciation for his son’s career, in the form of a letter.

Two months after that letter appeared, Gibbs was again the father of a boy, Emerson, who like Brian would have a successful high school career at Jesuit High School and like Brian would go on to pitch at Tulane.

Sunday is Tulane’s Senior Day, and again, Larry Gibbs has purchased a newspaper ad – actually, to be more accurate, a pair of newspaper ads – to express his love and appreciation for his son’s career, in the form of a letter. It appears likely that just as Brian finished his Tulane career in the NCAA Tournament, Emerson will do so as well.

There are a couple of noteworthy differences. Brian was a southpaw closer, Emerson is a right-handed starter. Brian came to Tulane while Joe Brockhoff was coach and finished his career under Jones; Emerson was recruited by Jones but will finish his career under David Pierce.

Jones, in his recruitment of Emerson, recalled telling him about that team in 1994 and his brother’s pitching performances. Emerson’s reply: “I wasn’t even born yet.”

Many of the words read the same as they did a generation ago (Larry Gibbs acknowledged as much on Sunday: “I wrote a nearly identical letter to your brother 22 years ago…”). The thought, however, is every bit as amazing.

Images of the letters appear below.

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Lenny Vangilder

Lenny Vangilder

Sales/Content/Production

Lenny was involved in college athletics starting in the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…

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