Holgorsen Announces Gibson as DC, Other WVU Staff - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Holgorsen Announces Gibson as DC, Other WVU Staff


West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen officially announced that Tony Gibson would take over the position of defensive coordinator for the Mountaineers on Friday.

While speaking at the annual spring football luncheon, Holgorsen said that despite all of the speculation that Gibson would get the position, he could not make an announcement until the contract was signed. That ink dried just prior to his meeting with the media.

Gibson served as WVU's safeties coach last season, but will now take over the linebackers in addition to his new role.

"Being a Mountaineer, to Tony, is important," said Holgorsen. "Nobody cares more about the Mountaineers, nobody cares more about the state of West Virginia and West Virginia University than Tony does."

A native of Van, W.Va., Gibson is in his second stint with the Mountaineers after serving the program from 2001 through 2007 when he left with head coach Rich Rodriguez to work for Michigan. Before returning to Morgantown, he coached one season each at Pittsburgh and Arizona.

"It's obviously a dream come true for me to be in my home state, coaching the Mountaineers in the role that I'm going to be in now," Gibson said on Friday.

Holgorsen says that when the football players found out about Gibson's promotion in a team meeting, they gave the new coordinator a standing ovation.

With such turnover at the position, both Holgorsen and Gibson felt that it was imperative that they hire from within the staff in order to keep the defensive system moving in the same direction as it did under previous coordinator Keith Patterson.

"The biggest thing was continuity and not making our kids learn a whole new defense, being the fourth coordinator in four years and that kind of deal plays into it," said Gibson. "We've not had to change terminology, verbiage, so hopefully our kids will be able to pick it up and we'll be able to keep on moving on."

The linebacker position is one of West Virginia's most experienced coming back for the 2014 season, both in terms of starters and in terms of depth. Gibson is tickled to have the opportunity to coach such a strong group, but he also says it's something that the head coach felt was necessary for him to have a feel for the defense as a whole.

"That was part of the deal that Dana and I discussed also was if you're going to be able to call it and know it, you need to be involved with the front and the back," said Gibson. "Obviously my experience all came in the back end. I've coached linebackers before at smaller schools when I was a coordinator there, but to be involved and know and get a handle on it for the run game and the pass game, I think that is the best place that I can be and I need to be there."

When Gibson first got back to WVU in 2013, he admitted that part of the reason he left Arizona was to get out of Rodriguez's shadow as an assistant and show that he is ready for a coordinator position. Even though he's been working toward this situation for his entire career, he did feel as though it all fell into place rather quickly.  

The fact that Holgorsen had enough confidence in Gibson to make him the coordinator after just one season together gives Gibson even more motivation to work as hard as he can to find success.

Still, he knows that he will be relying on those around him to move the Mountaineers in the right direction.
"Do I have all the answers? Heck no," said Gibson. "That's where you've got to lean on guys that have been there and done that."

Cornerbacks coach Brian Mitchell has experience as a Division-I defensive coordinator, as does Joe DeForest. DeForest, still serving as special teams coordinator, will handle safeties in the new staff alignment.

Joining the staff this season is former WVU linebacker Damon Cogdell, who has years of experience as a head coach at the high school level with Miramar (Fla.).

Gibson says the changes in the defense will be negligible as the team tries to build on the positives from a year ago and correct what went wrong along the way.

"Forget about last year, it's over with. Let's move on and let's get better," said Gibson. "We do reference back, hey, why did we struggle at times? Why did we play well at times? I think it all falls back down to effort, want to, keeping schemes simple and giving the kids the chance to play fast. That's my No. 1 goal right now."

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