‘I’m happy to do it’: Bill Gibson, the voice behind the Tommies

Still of Bill Gibsons' notes of narrating some of the St. Thomas University's Games. (Submitted: Bill Gibson)

In the world of St. Thomas University (STU) athletics, there’s a familiar voice that resonates through the airwaves, providing a vivid narrative of the highs and lows of the Tommies’ sporting endeavours. 

That voice belongs to Bill Gibson, the webcast commentator who has become synonymous with STU sports. 

Gibson’s journey into sports commentary began in high school, where he initially dipped his toes into the world of local television at Channel 10. Fast forward to 2019, when he stumbled upon an advertisement seeking a webcast voice for STU basketball and volleyball. Little did he know that this opportunity would reignite his passion for sports commentary.

“Sports is something I’ve always been involved in throughout most of my life,” said Gibson. “It was a way to stay involved in sports and to do something that I enjoy doing.”

Despite being an IT project manager by trade, Bill’s flexibility and commitment to the community allows him to balance a busy schedule that includes calling 125-plus games a year, with 40 to 50 of those being STU sports events.

“I’m very lucky to have an employer who gives me the flexibility to use my vacation the way that I choose to use it,” he said. “As long as I can keep going and STU will have me, then I’m happy to do it.”

His role as a commentator doesn’t end with STU. His diverse sports portfolio is showcased in his work with the Fredericton Royals baseball, the Maritime Women’s Basketball Association and even a local sports podcast named Late Scratches alongside Brad Janes. 

When asked about exploring commentary for other sports, Gibson expressed openness as long as he has “a little bit of comfort level with the sport.”

The pandemic brought a lull to the sports world, presenting a challenge for commentators like him. However, Gibson’s resilience and adaptability shone through. 

“I actually wrote a book in the middle of all that … I needed something to do to keep my mind busy.”

His book, The Weight, is a work of fiction set in Fredericton and adds another layer to Gibson’s rich porfolio.

Reflecting on the impact of his role, Gibson emphasized the connections he makes with people as the most significant aspect. 

“I’m the connection to parents, to grandparents, to siblings, to whoever from near and far,” he said. “I’m the voice that they listen to during the games and it’s really special to me.”

Gibson expressed his gratitude for the feedback and connections with STU fans. He welcomes interactions and encourages listeners to approach him, reinforcing the sense of community that sports commentary fosters.

While he has witnessed numerous thrilling moments during his time as a commentator, it’s the lasting relationships and connections that stand out the most. Intense basketball finals or the women’s volleyball team singing the national anthem as a tradition hold special places in his memory.

“Actual moments in games or moments in whatever come and go… but it’s the longer-lasting relationships and connections that, for me, will be the thing that will be the memory.”

Gibson’s meticulous preparation sets the stage for his on-air performances. Acknowledging the need for comfort and familiarity with the sports he covers, he shared his approach to preparing for different games. 

“I have a certain way that I’d like to prepare the lineups and the information … so when I’m trying to reference something quickly, I know where to find it.”

When asked about future goals, GIbson’s response was grounded in the present.

“I’m enjoying what I’m doing,” he said. “I’ll stay involved as much as I can, as long as I can, as long as someone wants me to be there.”

Gibson used his experience to lend some warm advice to current STU athletes — that they should stay connected to sports. 

“I hope, as well, from a player standpoint, that you don’t look at STU and your playing career as your final involvement in sport,” said Gibson. 

“I hope you stay involved in sport for life.”

In Gibson, STU has not just a webcast commentator, but a storyteller whose voice weaves together the tales of triumphs, challenges and the enduring spirit of the Tommies.