Written by Joy Huang
Michael Granville: Cross Country
Following the departure of longtime coach PattiSue Plumer, Michael Granville was hired as the new head coach of the cross country team. “It’s such an honor to have this position,” Granville said. “I look forward to this exalted role as head coach.”
Granville is mostly known as the national high school record-holder in the 800 meter with a time of 1:46.45. During his athletic career, he was three-time All-American for the UCLA track and field team, and he later ran for Nike Farm Team (based in Stanford) in 2001. Currently, Granville owns an outdoor fitness company called G:Fit Bootcamp, which is based in Cubberley Community Center and has been a personal trainer for 16 years. He was previously a coaching assistant at Palo Alto High School. He currently resides in Redwood City with his wife and two sons. Outside of athletics, he used to be a stand-up comedian and is also an artist. He will be having an art show on Sept. 16.
His coaching philosophy is to have fun and to create an atmosphere of team comradery. “It’s important to have them all have memorable moments, said Granville. “It’s rare you are going to remember the times in high school, but you remember the friendship and the good times you had. I want to make sure I have an environment for that to grow.”
Granville prefers to use an unorthodox approach to during the daily practice: In addition to running, he focuses on balance, strength training, running form and running efficiency. He also uses mental practices, such as visualizing victories. “My hashtag is this: see yourself running the race, see yourself winning the race, see yourself doing well, and it starts there and you will see it reveal on the cross country course,” he said.
Baiba McGibben: Volleyball
Baiba McGibben is a new varsity volleyball coach. “When I came to Gunn, I didn’t know what to expect from varsity team,” she said. “What I found astonished me: there are so many amazing, high-quality, intelligent and hardworking athletes in this program.”
Born and raised in Latvia, McGibben played for the junior national team in Latvia and Russia. Additionally, she played Division I volleyball at Seton Hall University, serving as the co-captain and outside hitter. She was also a Div I- Big East Player of the Year and named Female Athlete of the Year in her junior and senior year.
McGibben currently works in finance industry in San Francisco and has previously worked in New York and London. Although coaching is her secondary and voluntary position, she has 14 seasons of coaching experience from local high schools and clubs. “I think it’s in my blood,” she said. “Every time I try to do something else, volleyball is calling me back.”
Her coaching philosophy is focused on the individuality of each player. “There are no similar players, each of them needs something different,” McGibben said. This season, she hopes to train the athletes to be smart. “I want to encourage them to make well-defined, moment-fitting decisions on the court, just like in real life when you have to analyze data, look at the game, figure out the opponent, use everything in your toolbox skill-wise,” she said.
Outside of volleyball and work, McGibben enjoys antique cars, cooking and traveling. In her free time, she likes to take her children and dog to the beach.
Jason Miller: Football
The new football coach, Jason Miller, is hoping to bring change to the team this year. “Gunn needs an improvement in terms of its football program,” he said. “I hope to bring some stability and a winning culture to the school”
Miller has been playing football since he was seven. “I grew up loving football,” he said. “I love the comradery that football brings and how it teaches young men and women to commit.” Miller previously coached in southern California, but wanted to try something different, so he moved to Palo Alto to teach.
Miller works as a Special Education teacher at Greene Middle School (previously known as Jordan) and is a history teacher outside of Gunn. Currently, he is in the process of becoming a Gunn history teacher. Miller is also an avid Los Angeles Rams fan. “I’m trying to change everyone into Los Angeles fans one by one,” he laughed. “Its not working out though.”
In Miller’s coaching philosophy, he emphasizes love. “I want to teach these guys how to love one another and being able to sacrifice for their fellow men and push each other to be great,” he said. “I know that at Gunn sometimes it’s such a competitive nature and individualized nature, we don’t look to our left and right to pick up our brothers and our sisters.”