Dr. Gib Gilmore

More than any other Salem high school, North Salem High School is deep in accomplished student-athletes who have gone on to do great things in life. None has accomplished more than Dr. Gib Gilmore. In our age of sports specialization, it's hard to imagine the level at which this three-sport athlete performed.

Gilmore was born in 1946 to parents Vern and Mildred Gilmore, growing up in and attending schools in Salem, graduating as a Viking in 1965. Gib's father Vern served for 20 years at Salem High School as the athletic director. (Salem High School was the only high school in Salem until it became North Salem High in 1954 when South Salem High opened. South Salem's varsity baseball field is named after Gilmore's dad.) During those 20 years that Vern served as athletic director, Gib was afforded many opportunities to watch Viking athletics. Becoming a Viking athlete became a dream. Gilmore received countless hours of coaching from his Dad who was always very supportive of Gib and his many athletic endeavors. Sadly, Gilmore's father died of a heart attack at 52 years of age and never got to observe and enjoy the successes of Gib and the Viking teams on which he participated.

North Salem had over 2800 students enrolled during Gilmore's years of attendance. Viking athletics were very successful. Together with great athletes, North Salem was blessed with great coaching in all sports which allowed them to win titles in football, basketball, and baseball in what was then the Valley League. All this “while learning sportsmanship and appreciation for what we were able to accomplish”.

Gilmore was an all-district first team selection in both his junior and senior years as a quarterback in football, forward in basketball, and pitcher and outfielder in baseball. His Viking football teams played in the state championship game two years, winning the 1964 title. The Viking baseball team also played for the state championship during his senior year. Gilmore was a 1st team all-state selection in football, 4th team all-state in basketball, and 1st team all-state in baseball. Additionally, he was selected as the 1965 KOIN television State of Oregon High School Athlete of the Year, the Salem Sports and Breakfast Club Athlete of the Year, was the Thom McAn football award winner as the outstanding high school football player in the Mid-Willamette Valley, and was selected to play in both the 1965 Shriner's all-star football game for graduating seniors as well as the State versus Metro All-Star baseball game for graduating seniors. In the classroom Gilmore had a 3.6 grade point average, served as North Salem's Student Body President, and was a member of both the National Honor Society and the National Honorary Athletic Society.

Recruited by schools such as Harvard, Stanford, Oregon, and Oregon State, he chose to remain local and played football, basketball, and baseball at Willamette University. As in high school, success in the Northwest Conference followed. He was selected All-Northwest Conference, All-Little Northwest, and Honorable Mention Little All-American in both football and baseball and was drafted as an outfielder in the 18th round by the New York Yankees after his junior season. Deciding to stay in school and play another year, at the end of his senior year – 1969 – Gilmore was awarded the Willamette University J.H. Booth Award as the Bearcat's outstanding student-athlete. He signed as a free agent with the Dallas Cowboys – then coached by future Hall of Famer Tom Landry - but was cut after a short stay in training camp. In 1993 Gilmore was inducted into the Willamette University Hall of Fame.

Gilmore married classmate Judy Dodd in 1969 just before entrance to dental school at Oregon Health Sciences University. Graduating with honors in 1973, he then served two years in the United States Navy as a dentist before returning to Salem in 1975 where he subsequently practiced dentistry for 43 years.

Son Brian was born in 1981 and was joined by second son Kelly in 1984. Both boys were athletically inclined and participated in football, basketball and baseball while growing up. Both attended Willamette University and were all-conference players in baseball. Each went on to graduate school in dentistry and took over the dental practice in 2018 when Dr. Gilmore retired.

Gilmore served in various coaching capacities – 13 years, 3 sports a year - for his sons in the Keizer-area with the full intention of passing on the coaching ideals, attitudes, and teachings he received from coaches such as Don Schaefer, Vic Backlund, Spike Hillstrom, Bruce Barker, Ray Myers, John Lewis, and Ted Ogdahl – legends in the Salem-Keizer community. “Kids need to be taught to be humble winners, gracious losers, and good team players. Coaching youth sports takes a team effort.” He was honored to coach with men like Tom Hess, Mike Maghan, Duane Riddell, Steve Erickson, Rick Hess, Roland Herrera and many others.

Apparently not having accomplished enough, Gilmore played tournament handball for 40 years, winning the Oregon singles tournament. He then teamed up with partners to win the Oregon doubles championship eight times and the regional doubles championship six times. He culminated his individual handball achievements by winning the U.S. singles championship in the “over 35” age division in 1984.

In retirement Gib spends his time hiking with Judy, his wife of 50 years. He also enjoys fishing and playing golf.

Gilmore states that “I am so grateful for being brought up in the Viking tradition, and I am truly fortunate to be honored with my selection as a Beacon for North Salem High.” The Salem-Keizer community, however, is equally grateful to have had Gib Gilmore serve as a “Beacon of excellence and leadership” and a role model for those that follow.

"Gib Gilmore is one of the very best and arguably the single best athlete to ever graduate from North Salem High School! Gib played football, basketball and baseball at North Salem High, winning All-State honors in both football and baseball. Gib went on to Willamette University where he was elected to the W.U. Athletic Hall of Fame. Gib later settled in Keizer and has made many contributions to both the city and to McNary High School as well."

Vic Backlund