Westfield High School football coach Gilbert to leave Westfield to take Wabash College post


Jake Gilbert got the one offer he couldn’t refuse.

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Jake Gilbert

Gilbert has stepped down as Westfield High School’s football coach to take the position of associate head coach and defensive coordinator at Wabash College in Crawfordsville.

Gilbert will become Wabash’s head coach when Don Morel retires following the 2024 season.

“I wasn’t looking to leave by any stretch of the imagination,” Gilbert said. “It was the only job I would have considered leaving for. I didn’t necessarily want to be a college coach. I just wanted to be the Wabash coach. I wouldn’t leave for another high school.”

Gilbert, a 1998 Wabash College graduate, was a defensive lineman in college. He was the head coach at North Montgomery High School in Crawfordsville for six seasons beginning in 2001. From 2006-10, he served as an assistant coach at Wabash, handling offensive line duties in 2006-07 and serving as defensive coordinator from 2008-10.

Gilbert led the Shamrocks to the 2016 Class 5A state title.

Under Gilbert, WHS was a Class 5A runner-up in 2013 and a Class 6A state runner-up in 2020 and 2021. He had a record of 103-54 during his 13 seasons as the Shamrocks coach.

Gilbert said the decision was tough because he won’t have the chance to coach his son Tyson, a sophomore wide receiver, for his final two seasons. He said he plans to live in Westfield until Tyson graduates.

Gilbert and his wife, Christina, have two other sons. Jackson, who was the Shamrocks quarterback last season, graduates this spring and will play football for Wabash. The couple’s oldest son, Logan, is an Indiana University student.

Josh Miracle, who served as Gilbert’s associate head coach and defensive coordinator, will be the Shamrocks new coach, pending school board approval.

“They have the best coach they have right there in the building, and I decided to turn it over to him,” Gilbert said. “He deserves it. He’ll do a fantastic job. He was with me for 17 years.”

Miracle played for Wabash when Gilbert was an assistant and has been a WHS assistant for 13 years.

Gilbert said he told the Westfield players of his decision March 11 when Wabash released the news.

“It was pretty tough,” Gilbert said. “I’ve been the only coach these guys have known. It’s hard to leave.”

Gilbert ran for mayor of Westfield in 2023, narrowly losing to Scott Willis in the Republican primary. Gilbert was a Westfield City Council member at the time. He had served as WHS dean of wellness with his final day being March 13.

Honors include being named Hoosier Crossroads Conference Coach of the Year three times (2013, 2020, and 2021), the Indiana Football Coaches Association Coach of the Year twice (2013 and 2016), and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Indiana Coach of the Year in 2017. Gilbert was selected to coach in the Indiana All-Star game in 2014 and 2024. He has served as president, vice president and director of the Indiana Football Coaches Association.

“Jake is an outstanding coach and I have complete confidence that he will be an excellent defensive coordinator next season,” stated Morel, who is entering his eighth season as head coach. “He had a fantastic head coaching career at Westfield with a state championship to his credit and he knows every high school coach in the state. We’re going to continue to do things the right way by recruiting the absolute best scholar-athletes.”