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Source: Wabash College

CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind.–Jake Gilbert is leaving Westfield High School to become the next defensive coordinator and eventual head coach of the Wabash College Football team.

The Athletic Director at Wabash College Matt Tanney says the plan is for Gilbert, a 1998 graduate of Wabash, to join the coaching staff as the defensive coordinator for the 2024 season. Then, he will take over for Don Morel as the Head Coach in 2025.

“Jake is an outstanding coach and I have complete confidence that he will be an excellent defensive coordinator next season,” said Morel. “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.”

Gilbert was the Head Football Coach at Westfield High School, where he amassed a record of 103-55 in 13 seasons since 2011, including a 43-10 mark (.811) over the last four seasons. Along the way, Gilbert’s teams claimed three Hoosier Crossroads Conference (HCC) titles, made eight state playoff appearances, and won the 2016 Class 5A state championship. Thirty-six of his players earned all-state honors and 43 were named academic all-state.

He was the HCC 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.

Prior to all of that, Gilbert was an assistant coach at Wabash, handling offensive line duties in 2006-07 and serving as the defensive coordinator from 2008-10. In that span, the Little Giants posted a 46-10 (.821) record with three NCAA Division III Playoff appearances.

“With Coach Morel and Coach Gilbert, Wabash is fortunate to have leadership of the football program with an unwavering commitment to its present and long-term success,” said Tanney. “It’s an exciting day to welcome Coach Gilbert back to campus. His on-field success, combined with his passion for preparing men for life after football, is a superb match for our athletics program. In a program with consistently high aspirations, Coach Morel sustained a winning tradition for eight years and contributed much to the life of the College. I look forward to partnering with both Don and Jake to support our scholar-athletes’ pursuit of academic and athletic excellence.”

Morel is the fifth winningest coach in school history, while his winning percentage ranks fourth.