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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (February 21, 2014) – West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen has announced that Mountaineer assistant coach Tony Gibson has been promoted to defensive coordinator. Holgorsen will announce the defensive staff positions at a later time.
“Tony has worked in the Big East, Big Ten, Pac-12 and now the Big 12, and has coached against a lot of different schemes and offenses during his time at the major college level. He is more than ready to take this next step and coordinate our defense,” Holgorsen said. “He is a great evaluator of talent, and Tony is a West Virginia guy who works hard to bring success and good things to this program. I know he will put every ounce of his energy into the job.”
Gibson began his second stint in Morgantown in January 2013 and already has reaped rewards on the recruiting trail, re-opening the pipeline between Pittsburgh and Morgantown. Three players from the Pittsburgh area signed with the Mountaineers in the 2014 signing class, including the top ranked player in the state of Pennsylvania. During the 2013, he also coached two All-Big 12 Conference performers, Darwin Cook and Karl Joseph. Cook also was one of the team’s permanent captains and was named the team’s defensive most valuable player.
He returned to WVU after serving as the assistant head coach, safeties coach and defensive special teams’ coordinator at Arizona during the 2012 season. The Wildcats finished 8-5 overall and won the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.
He spent the 2011 season as the secondary coach and pass defense coordinator at Pitt. The Panthers made their fourth straight bowl appearance, and two of Gibson’s pupils were named to Big East all-conference teams. He was responsible for recruiting Rushel Shell to Pitt, the top running back in the nation.
Gibson served as assistant head coach and defensive backs coach at Michigan from 2008-10. He added special teams’ coordinator to his duties in 2010. During his time in Ann Arbor, the Wolverines earned a berth in the Gator Bowl in 2011 and one of his cornerbacks, Donovan Warren, earned first-team All-Big Ten honors. Gibson was responsible for securing the services of Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Denard Robinson, one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation.
He coached defensive backs under Rich Rodriguez from 2001 to 2007 at West Virginia, and was recruiting coordinator his final season in Morgantown. The Mountaineers enjoyed one of their most successful periods on the gridiron, posting a 58-14 record in his final six years on staff and earning a then school record six straight bowl appearances, including two BCS bowl games. Eight of his players earned all-Big East honors and six of his players were selected in the NFL Draft.
His secondary standouts at WVU included first team All-American Adam Jones, who has played with the Titans, Cowboys and Bengals during his eight-year NFL career. The Mountaineers won or shared four Big East titles during Gibson’s time in Morgantown, capturing BCS bowl victories following the 2005 (Sugar Bowl) and 2007 (Fiesta Bowl) seasons. He recruited 32 players on the 2005 team that won the Big East Championship and Sugar Bowl, and secured 40 players who were on the 2007 Big East and Fiesta Bowl championship squad.
Gibson began his career at Glenville State under Rodriguez in 1996, coaching defensive backs and the kickoff teams. In 1997 and ’98, Gibson worked at Cumberland (Tenn.) University, coordinating the program’s special teams and recruitment in addition to mentoring the team’s defensive backs. His career then carried him to West Virginia Tech, where he spent two seasons as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator (1999-2000), before arriving at West Virginia.
Gibson graduated from Glenville State in 1994. He was a defensive back from 1991-94 and was a part of two WVIAC championship teams. The Van, W.Va., native began his coaching career at Gilmer County High School in Glenville, W.Va., in 1995, where he was head coach and interim athletic director. He and his wife, Kerry, have two children, son Cody, who plays football at West Virginia Wesleyan, and daughter, Ashton.