MENTONE – Family, football and the Tippecanoe Valley community were all very near and dear to the heart of Scott Bibler.
The lasting legacy of the man known as “Bibs” will live on, too, through the sport he loved and in the community he loved thanks to the family that he loved.
A new press box in honor of Bibler, who died in a plane crash last October, is nearing completion at Tippecanoe Valley High School. The beautiful facility is slated to be completed in time for the 2016 football season and home opener on Aug. 19.
The Bibler family, spearheaded by Scott’s wife, Stephanie, donated the gorgeous and spacious press box. The new box will also serve the new Valley soccer program as it is located on the former visitor’s side of the football field, adjacent to the soccer field.
“It makes my heart feel good,” said Stephanie after taking a look at the progress of the press box earlier this week. “I think that Scott would love it and he would be so proud of it.”
Scott Bibler was a 1982 Valley graduate who helped the Vikings win a football state championship as a player in 1979. He served as head coach of the football program from 1990-2005 before stepping down to spend more time with his wife and two daughters Chelsea and Megan. He was an assistant coach before taking back over as head coach for the 2014 season before leaving Valley to accept a position with Crosswinds in Fort Wayne. The caring and compassionate Bibler, who always wore a huge smile, was also a tremendous asset to the high school as a very caring and devoted guidance counselor.
Stephanie, who met Scott in high school at Valley and was married to him for 28 years, said she knew almost immediately following his passing last year that this was something she needed to do.
“Within 24 hours, I knew that I wanted to donate a new press box and have a scholarship,” said Stephanie. “I was totally convicted to do it. Scott loved this school and this community. This is home.”
Bibler, who was just 51 years old, died in a tragic accident as he and three others were flying to the Notre Dame at Clemson football game last October. Their plane crashed on Oct. 2 in South Carolina not far from their destination. Also killed in the crash were Charlie Smith, his son Scott, and Tony Elliott. The elder Smith was the first football coach at Valley and a Warsaw city councilman. His son Scott played basketball at Valley and was a lawyer in Warsaw while Elliott was a well-known sprint car driver.
“It’s so bittersweet,” said Stephanie of the new press box. “It’s making something good out of something bad. Scott would expect us to move forward and that’s what I’m trying to do.
“It’s been hard, but the support that myself and the girls have received has been unbelievable. All of the support from everyone has been very heart-warming.”
The press box project also has a very special meaning to Stephanie due to the man who is in charge of it.
“Shaun Miller (of Miller Construction) went to school here with Scott and his wife and I have been best friends since kindergarten,” related Stephanie. “I knew when I decided to do this that he was going to build it. It’s a labor of love for Shaun and he’s just done a great job with it.”
“I just want people to remember Scott’s attitude and his heart for people. I want them to remember the people that he touched and the lives that he affected. It was faith, family and football with him.
“This school was so him. It’s going to be bittersweet on Aug. 19 when we come in to see the new press box at that first game. But, it will be wonderful, too.”
And you can know that Scott Bibler will be watching and smiling down on a family and a community that he dearly loved as well.