Bubon returns to Warren as WGH coach

Gabe Bubon, new head basketball coach Warren G. Harding High School

WARREN —Gabe Bubon did not ignore that nagging feeling, that premonition your subconscious relays with the strongest possible sign.

The 1995 Warren G. Harding High School graduate didn’t ignore the constant poking at his soul. Some do and regret it later.

He embraced it.

Tuesday, the Warren City Schools Board of Education approved him as the Raiders varsity boys basketball head coach.

He’s spent the last 13 seasons starting as a student assistant and ending as head coach at Point Park University in Pittsburgh.

Mentoring is the life of this single man, one he relishes.

Bubon, who turned 41 last week, is going to be a school community liaison for the Warren City Schools as part of his job description.

He will also be the face of the Raiders’ boys basketball program.

It’s about being a father figure to a boy from a single-parent home. Another boy may need a counselor. This coaching job is about much more than coaching. Bubon can be a pathway for those seeking a better life.

“I want to show these kids there’s more to life than just Warren,” he said. “Now I get a chance to come back and help these kids. That’s what I’m looking the most forward to.

“If you put the kids in the right position after the four years, it’s going to open a lot of doors for them. I’m going to cherish to being part of that and trying to show them that way.”

Consistency. Eight of the 13 years he was at Point Park, the Pioneers were in the top 10 in scoring.

He also was the men’s and women’s golf coach for eight seasons, going from golf to basketball and back to golf with a handful of national appearances for the Pioneer golfers.

Busy. That’s what the Raiders plan to be on the court, like the Running Raiders of the 1990s.

Pressure defense. Fast break. Shoot 3-pointers.

“I see some games that are 44-42,” Bubon said. “That drives me nuts. I want that to be the halftime score.”

Conditioning and weight room, he’ll build up these teenagers’ bodies to withstand the rigors of this system.

“We’re going to go with a purpose,” Bubon said. We’re going to look to score. When we do score, we’re going to turn around and be right up in your face trying to get you to turn the ball over so we can get more shots. I like to think the more shots you get that game, the better chance you have to win that game.

“They’ll learn real quick you can’t make it if you’re not in the best shape of your life.”

He’ll be back and forth to Point Park until the end of the month, to help the Pioneers make their transition. It’ll be an easy move for him.

Bubon’s brother, Dan, a 1991 WGH graduate who is Howland’s boys basketball coach, said his brother is even more laid back than him. Hard to believe, but true.

“Most of these kids, all you need is a little bit of patience, people willing to put time in,” said Dan, who is a social studies teacher in the Warren City Schools system. “He won’t overreact to situations. He’ll spend more time looking for a solution. He’ll try to help the kid than just trying to get on the kid.”

WGH athletic director Bill Nicholson said he had 20 or so applicants for the vacancy, but few knew what all this job entails.

Sure, it’s about winning games. You can’t get around that fact. But turning players into productive adults is just as important for these athletes who may not go on to play college basketball. High school basketball can’t be their end all be all.

“He understands Warren,” Nicholson said of Gabe Bubon. “He understands our community, the expectations of the basketball program. He wants to keep it at a high level and beyond.”