Jake Gilbert ’98 was recently highlighted as one of the best high school head coaches in the nation and was chosen for the second time as the midwest region’s winner of the American Football Coaches Association’s Power of Influence Award.  

Jake Gilbert and his family

The award is presented jointly by the American Football Coaches Association and the American Football Coaches Foundation.

Gilbert is one of only five high school coaches in the nation to receive the annual honor. He was nominated by the Indiana Football Coaches Association Executive Director Bob Gaddis.

A press release from the AFCA states: “The award was created as a way for the AFCA and AFCF to honor deserving high school football coaches. Coaches who receive this award are recognized for their impact on their team, as well as the legacy they leave with the school and surrounding community. This award is not based on wins and losses; however, it should be noted that coaches of powerful influence have longevity and success. The winners are selected by members of the AFCF Board of Directors.”

Gilbert recently completed his 11th season as head coach at WHS. He led the Shamrocks to a 12-2 record and a second straight appearance in the IHSAA Class 6A state championship game.

Gilber also serves on the Westfield City Council and is president of the Wellbeing Coalition of Westfield.

“I want to build a family in the kids here and long term have an impact during their high school, (and) really even before their high school years, and then continue that influence in their lives as they grow into adults,” Gilbert said in a recent Current article. “That’s the goal, anyway.”

While at Wabash, Gilbert majored in history with specialization in teacher education. He was a member of Phi Delta Theta and played on the football and rugby teams. He was an all-conference and honorable mention All-American defensive lineman.

He served as an assistant coach for Wabash’s football team from 2006 until 2011.