It’s a new era for Bel Air High School as the campus closes a chapter on their storied gymnasium in order to make way for a new facility.
Tuesday night, student athletes took to center court for the last time. The farewell to the Carroll Dibler Gymnasium brought back memories on the court and off.
The gym has been home to the Highlander basketball team since 1972 and will soon be demolished to make way for a more advanced facility as part of YISD’s bond projects.
Bel Air renamed the gym over 15 years ago in honor of longtime speech teacher Carroll Dibler and her daughter, Kristen, who were both murdered in a violent attack in June, 2000.
Kristen, an Eastwood High School graduate, was killed by her ex-boyfriend who came into the home after realizing her new boyfriend, Matt Kennedy, was inside. Henschel shot the couple and Carroll as she went to to check on the couple.
The Diblers were both killed and Kennedy was injured in the attack. The shooter, William Henschel, later received a life sentence for the murders after a very emotional trial.
“The community rallied around us and decided to name the gymnasium after her,” Carroll Dibler’s son, Rob told KTSM. “She had a huge impact. She cared for everybody. She tried to help everybody. She was very involved in the school and it was meaningful to me and my family.”
Basketball runs in the Dibler family blood. Carroll Dibler’s husband, Bobby Dibler, served as a longtime basketball official coordinator. Her son, Rob is now the Highlander’s basketball coach.
An emotional Bobby Dibler was also there Tuesday to say goodbye to the gym named in honor of his late wife and daughter.
“She thought all these kids here at Bel Air were her kids,” he said.
Dibler said this will be yet another sad loss, but he’s now holding her memory even closer. “I know she’s smiling down on us. I know she’s here with us and I believe that with my heart, my mind and my faith,” Dibler said.
The Highlanders went out with a victory Tuesday in the last game inside the special gym. Demolition is set to begin at the end of the school year. The Diblers tell KTSM that they will stand proudly behind the new gymnasium and the continuing Highlander spirit.