Jake Gilbert ’98, Westfield High School varsity football coach and dean of wellness, has announced his 2023 mayoral bid.

Gilbert, who was elected to the city council in 2020, told The Current newspaper he’s running for mayor because he wants to give back to the city.

“I just love the city so much,” Gilbert said. “I just want to be able to lead and give back in a bigger way than what I currently am. We’ve done the teaching, coaching and community service for over a decade now, and I just feel like this city needs what I can provide and that I’d love to serve the city. So, I think it’s a perfect fit.”

The Gilbert family

Gilbert said he has some ideas on where he wants to guide the city if elected, but right now he’s just listening and learning as a city council member.

“My biggest focus right now in my current job and in the future is to reunite this city. Right now, our government is very separated, and we don’t have synergy anywhere,” he said. “I think I can lead us back to where we are all working together.”

Gilbert is the president of the Wellbeing Coalition of Westfield, and he is involved in many organizations including Young Life, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Open Doors Food Pantry, Westfield Youth Assistance Program, Special Olympics and Riley’s Children Hospital. He has awarded more than 30 scholarships, founded Westfield’s Freshman Mentor Program and initiated an Opioid Awareness Campaign and the Shamrock Save a Life Walk.

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

“It’s been the biggest blessing to live here, and I truly just want to give back,” Gilbert said in news report. “This isn’t to grind an ax or advance myself. This is just out of a desire to love and lead Westfield.”

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.