The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

February 22, 2014

Holgorsen excited to have Gibson as defensive coordinator

MORGANTOWN — Tony Gibson’s appointment as West Virginia’s new defensive coordinator has been about as well-kept a secret over the last few weeks as Dana Holgorsen’s love for Red Bull.

When WVU announced on Feb. 6 that Keith Patterson was leaving the position to take a similar spot at Arizona State, Gibson’s name immediately popped to the forefront, and the Van native’s Twitter account listed WVU football defensive coordinator as his title two weeks ago.

On Friday, during the Mountaineer football pre-spring media luncheon, the news finally became official when Holgorsen announced the hiring.

“He’s been doing a great job for us,” said Holgorsen in announcing the move. “Being a Mountaineer to Tony is important. Nobody cares more about the Mountaineers or the state of West Virginia more than Tony does. I think that goes a long way.”

Gibson has only been a member of Holgorsen’s staff since last January, but he’s no stranger to WVU. Gibson coached defensive backs under Rich Rodriguez form 2001 through 2007. After some struggles that first season, WVU went 58-14 over the next six years, playing in six straight bowl games, including two BCS bowls. The Mountaineers won or shared four Big East titles and won two BCS bowl games.

Gibson, a graduate of Glenville State, began his coaching career at Gilmer County High School as head coach in 1995. He coached with Rodriguez at Glenville State in 1996 and then spent two seasons at Cumberland (Tenn.) University as the special teams coordinator.

West Virginia Tech was the next stop and his first stint as defensive coordinator. He worked there for two seasons before joining Rodriguez’s staff in 2001.

Gibson left with Rodriguez and coached at Michigan, working under defensive coordinators Greg Robinson and Scott Shafer. When Rodriguez was fired, Gibson landed at Pitt, where he worked for the first time under Patterson.

Gibson re-joined Rodriguez, and former Mountaineer defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel, at Arizona in 2012, before Patterson lured the coach back to Morgantown, a move he was more than happy to make.

All those experiences, the father of two said, have readied him for this newest promotion.

“I’ve worked for some pretty good coordinators,” said Gibson. “I’ve always been a big part of game planning. Those guys asked for my input, and they trusted me on game day to make calls, too.

“I know it’s different when everything falls on you, but that’s when you need great assistant coaches. That’s what we have here.”

Gibson will be the fourth new WVU defensive coordinator in as many years. Casteel stayed on staff during Holgorsen’s first season in 2010, but he left for Arizona following the Orange Bowl victory over Clemson. Joe DeForest was hired to take the position, but was moved to a different role after 2011, statistically WVU’s worst defensive season of all time. Patterson then took over the duties last year. The defense showed some improvement, but Patterson chose to join his former Pitt boss Todd Graham at ASU.

With so much instability, Gibson said it’s critical that he limit the changes.

“When we line up, people aren’t going to say, ‘Wow, they’re different,’” he said. “You’re still going to see three down linemen, four linebackers and four (defensive backs). But we’re going to do some things a little different to make our scheme better.

“We’re going to keep it simple,” he continued. “What we’ve asked the coaches is that if we’re going to change something, let’s make sure that we’re using the same terminology the kids know. Make us learn it. It’s a lot easier for four guys to learn it than 14 guys.”

Gibson has been a part of some strong Mountaineer defenses in the past, coaching guys like Adam Jones in his first run at WVU, and his goal is to return defense to a strength for the Mountaineers.

“There’s a winning tradition at West Virginia, and they’re embarrassed (about the last two seasons),” said Gibson. “They’re hungry. I really like our kids, and I like their attitude.”

According to Holgorsen, the feeling’s mutual.

“When I announced (the promotion) to the team the other day, he got a standing ovation,” said the head Mountaineer. “You can tell the kind of respect they have for him. He’ll do a tremendous job, as he has ever since he’s been here.”

Spring practice for WVU begins March 2 in Morgantown.

— E-mail: chuffman@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.

1
Text Only
College Sports
  • Herd lands ‘Other D’Antoni’

    Danny D’Antoni hasn’t been a West Virginia resident in nearly 40 years. That will soon change, and his family could not be happier.
    D’Antoni will be introduced as Marshall’s new head men’s basketball coach at a press conference at 2 p.m. today. Athletic director Mike Hamrick announced the hiring via Twitter Thursday afternoon.

    April 24, 2014

  • WVU baseball begins series with Kansas State in Morgantown today

    The West Virginia University baseball team will host Kansas State in a key Big 12 Conference series this weekend at Hawley Field. Game one begins at 6 p.m. today. Game two begins at 4 p.m. on Saturday, and the first pitch for game three is set for noon on Sunday.

    April 24, 2014

  • Hamrick deserves praise for pursuit of D’Antoni

    Sometimes gambles don’t pay off, but some risks simply have to be taken.

    April 23, 2014

  • WVU post-spring depth chart filled with few surprises

    Although the contents brought about as much of a surprise as a over the hill balloon at a 40th birthday party, there were a few interesting nuggets in the post-spring depth chart that West Virginia University sent out Wednesday morning.

    April 23, 2014

  • Clutch hitting leads WVU over Marshall

    Junior catcher Cam O’Brien finished  a home run away from the cycle and scored three runs as the WVU baseball team defeated Marshall, 10-3, on Wednesday evening at Hawley Field.

    April 23, 2014

  • Gardner improving with broken neck

    Joedy Gardner, a well-known former West Virginia basketball player and coach, is much improved after having broken his neck in Phoenix, Ariz., several months ago.

    April 23, 2014

  • 042314 trickett Mountaineers have benefited from incoming football transfers

    Recruiting in college football seems to get more and more attention every season. Websites like Scout.com and Rivals.com stalk the high school sidelines and blow up potential recruits’ cell phones in search of the latest information. But there’s one important aspect that often goes ignored — transfers.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • WVU baseball pounds Terps

    The offense had 16 hits and sophomore left-hander Ross Vance struck out six as the West Virginia University baseball team routed Maryland 14-2 on Tuesday evening at Hawley Field.

    April 22, 2014

  • Crutchfield not interested in Division I job

    You would think Jim Crutchfield would be a great candidate for a head basketball coach’s job at an NCAA Division I university.
    But the Clarksburg native keeps saying that he’s perfectly content in that role at West Liberty, a Division II powerhouse. His 10-year record there is an absolutely amazing 272-49. Significantly, 10 of those defeats came in his first year at the West Liberty helm.

    April 22, 2014

  • Stepping up: Kelly racking up wins for Lions

    Sundays have become red-letter days for Chris Kelly.

    April 22, 2014