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Legendary New Jersey High School Football Coach Drew Gibbs Remembered As 'A Champion Who Helped Countless Young Men'

FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - A legendary high school football coach in New Jersey died Tuesday morning.

Former and current players are grieving the loss of Drew Gibbs, who led the Ramapo High School football team in Franklin Lakes.

As CBS2's Nick Caloway reports, coach Drew Gibbs was an icon in New Jersey football, recognized as one of the best high school coaches in the state.

Ramapo High School officials said Gibbs died after emergency surgery to repair a tear in the main artery from the heart.

Current and former players, students and parents were heartbroken.

"It was so, so sad. We're shocked. Very sad. My son's at college and he texted me, and all his friends were posting," said Wyckoff parent Cara Smith.

Coach Gibbs led the Raiders to 183 wins and 51 losses in his 21 season, racking up seven sectional titles. But along the way, he did so much more than win.

"As a parent, as a member of the community, I look at is as he built a culture. He built a family atmosphere. And that, to me, is much more important than W's and L's," said Franklin Lakes parent Rick Capozzi.

News of his death drew swift reaction from across the Garden State, including from Gov. Phil Murphy.

"And he was a giant of a coach, a giant of a guy. He had coached Ramapo for a bunch of years, only 59 years old. So please keep his memory and the Gibbs family in your prayers," Murphy said.

Among the many who played for Gibbs over the years is two time Super Bowl champion wide receiver Chris Hogan.

"Very sad news. Coach Gibbs was an unbelievable coach but an even better human being that helped so many young athletes and students," Hogan tweeted Tuesday.

"Coach Gibbs was a champion who helped countless young men reach their full potential in life," said Rutgers head coach and Ramapo graduate Greg Schiano.

The Ramapo Raiders are 10-1 on the season, and are set to play in another state sectional championship this Friday. School officials have not announced who will coach that game.

We asked school officials if there are any plans to postpone Friday's game. So far, there's no response.

Nick Caloway contributed to this report. 

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