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Father-son duo headline FDA hall of fame

Fort Dale Academy’s latest Hall of Fame inductees are a father-son duo that need no introduction.

Class of 1976 graduate Ken Gibson and Class of 2009 graduate Kendall Gibson will both be honored during Fort Dale’s homecoming festivities on Friday evening before the game with Sparta Academy.

“Ken and Kendall both have meant much to our school, and to our football program and sports program over the years,” said Fort Dale Academy headmaster David Brantley.

“Ken in his own right was an outstanding athlete at Fort Dale back in the ‘70s, but he has done so much more for us than being an outstanding athlete.  He’s served on our board of directors for many years, and he’s been an announcer at our football games—he’s just been a go-to guy for us when we needed support, and he has stood with us and he loves this school.”

“Kendall was the epitome in what we look for in a high school athlete.  He was an excellent football player, and he was also on the basketball and baseball teams.  He won many honors as a football player, but more importantly he was an outstanding man and a wonderful student at our school.”

The dynamic duo holds innumerable academic and athletic accolades between them.

Ken was named to the Alabama Private School Association all-state team and an APSA all-star during his senior year, and also played on the APSA All-Conference team in both his junior and senior seasons.

He attended Northwest Mississippi Community College on a football scholarship and, following his football playing days, he served as assistant coach at the college under legendary Mississippi coaches A.J. Kilpatrick and Bobby Franklin.

Kendall graduated with honors in 2009, and he received the 2008 AISA All-Star Pepsi Scholarship and a 2009 AISA All-State Academic selection.

He was also a finalist for the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award and an Achiever Award nominee.

In 2009, he also represented the United States in Tokyo on the Stars and Stripes All-American football team in the GE Global Challenge Bowl against Japan.

Later that year, he accepted Troy University’s Excellence in Leadership Scholarship and pursued a walk-on position with the Troy University Trojans.

Despite sustaining what was thought to be a career-ending injury, Kendall continued his football career as the Trojans’ long snapper.

Following graduation from Troy, he was offered a graduate assistant position with the Trojans where he serves as the special teams analyst, a walk-on coordinator and football operations associate.

“It’s a big honor, and there’s been a lot of great names on that list way before me,” Kendall said.

“I’m probably not the most athletic one on there, but I’m definitely appreciative of being there and of the people that helped me get there, like my teachers, my coaches and all of the people at Fort Dale that pushed me to be where I’m at today.”

“Coach Speed Sampley was definitely instrumental in helping me learn the life lessons of football and finding the passion for the game.  Mr. David Brantley was my headmaster, and he kind of inspired me to maybe go into education and administration.  He was always one of those people that I could always go to, and his door was never shut to me and he was always there for me.  The third person who was most instrumental was Jimmy Gardner.  He just passed away and it was a great loss to the Fort Dale family, but he was one of the men who I don’t have a whole lot of words to describe, but he’s a special person to all of us and he definitely helped me to get where I’m at today.”

The pair mark the second time a father and his children have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, with the first honor going to Jimmy Gardner, Caleb Gardner and Sarah Ellen Gardner in 2004.

Ken said that being inducted alongside his son is its own reward.

“I was very excited in the way the school chose to do it with Kendall and I at the same time,” Ken said.

“It is very special.  Everyone is proud of their children, and I’m very blessed to have children do as well as mine.”