Nov. 4, 2005
By Craig Chval
On the crowded and impressive resume of Tom Gibbons, Notre Dame, Ind., seems little more than a small blip on the radar screen.
Currently the president of Sargent, an aerospace subsidiary of Dover Corporation, Gibbons grew up in Alexandria, Va., and has lived all over the country after spending four years at Notre Dame.
But as they say, home is where the heart is.
Notre Dame is where Gibbons battled his way to the top of the Notre Dame depth chart to become a three-year starter at defensive back and senior captain for Dan Devine’s last Irish team.
It’s where he hit the books as hard as he hit opposing receivers, earning academic All-American honors en route to a degree in aerospace engineering. It’s where Gibbons got to know his future bride, Lexi (although the two actually met for the first time at a party for incoming Notre Dame and St. Mary’s freshmen from the Alexandria area).
Notre Dame is even beginning to feel like home to the Gibbons’ five children. Later this season, their eldest son, T.J., will travel to Notre Dame to watch his alma mater, Navy, take on the Fighting Irish. It will be a clash of emotions that is nothing new to the family.
Tom’s father graduated from the Naval Academy, but switched his cheering allegiances to Notre Dame during his son’s four years on the Irish squad.
“Blood is pretty thick,” Tom offers.
Tom and Lexi nearly got a chance to figure out exactly how thick, but injuries brought T.J.’s football career to a premature end before he claimed a spot on Navy’s varsity.
“I almost had to cheer for Navy,” Gibbons confesses.
The other Gibbons children also are following paths not unfamiliar to their parents. Daniel is currently studying engineering at Virginia Tech, while Sean is a starting cornerback for Salpointe Catholic High School in Tucson, Ariz.
“He got his mother’s speed,” says his father.
Keegan is also playing high school football, as a freshman middle linebacker and fullback. “He’s got a hard head,” says Gibbons, without elaborating on the genetics.
As the only daughter, 10-year-old Meaghan unquestionably takes after her mother.
“She definitely rules the roost,” laughs Tom. Unlike her older brothers, Meaghan has yet to attend a football game at Notre Dame, but that will change.
Despite Tom’s career, Lexi’s booming real estate business and all of the children’s sports and other activities, the Gibbons still travel back to Notre Dame at least once a year.
“It’s home,” Tom says.