When Rich Rodriguez left West Virginia at the end of 2007, he took Tony Gibson with him.
Two Mountain State natives were said to have turned their back on their home state and the 1.8 million WVU football fans that reside among the hills.
Making matters worse, Gibson also coached at rival Pitt after departing from the Mountaineers. But in 2013, he came back home and has been welcomed with open arms.
His first post in his second stint with the WVU football program was as the safeties coach and he has since taken over the role as defensive coordinator.
Recently, Gibson moved his way back up the West Virginia coaching ladder by adding a title of associate head coach to his resume.
According to “The Scoop” Gibson took over that position on May 11. So what does this mean for Gibson?
Well, if current head coach Dana Holgrosen is not offered a contract extension, or if he turns down another offer from WVU, like it has already been reported, there is no reason why Gibson won’t be a candidate for the head job.
Gibson is known as an ace recruiter and a trusted source for the WVU football program. By increasing his role, or simply leveraging his title, Gibson possesses more power and prestige within the Mountaineers entire athletic program.
He helped build a strong defense for the Mountaineers last season that ranked among the best in the Big 12 Conference. Off the field, he is seen as a strong motivator. Having come from a small town in southern West Virginia, Gibson is like many of the paying, dedicated fans of the Mountaineers.
His stories of inspiration come from his college football playing days, as he defied the odds to make a name for himself at Glenville State. Since graduating from the small school in 1994, Gibson has had a nice rise through the coaching ranks.
He’ll likely want to be a head coach at some point. But having left and come back again, Gibson is in a solid position in his home state. Gibson had some time to figure out what he wanted in his career.
He has remained loyal to his mentor (Rodriguez) and his home school (West Virginia). Now, he is his own man and he has developed into one of the strongest figures for the Mountaineers.
Gibson earned this promotion and it will only help to strengthen the WVU football program.