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Tony Gibson to Leave WVU Football Program

Though a much-beloved figure by many current and former players, a new boss means changes for a program and Gibson was not kept on.

NCAA Football: Camping World Bowl-West Virginia vs Syracuse Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

When new West Virginia football head coach Neal Brown was introduced formally on Thursday morning, he dropped the first coaching staff news of his tenure: He will hire Vic Koenning as defensive coordinator, who served with him at Troy. This meant that Tony Gibson would be pushed out of that position, and it has now been confirmed that he will leave the program.

Though many former and current players expressed publicly that they wanted Gibson to stay, the new boss has his own hiring decisions to make, and Gibson is not a part of the path forward. Gibson is still owed $950,000 for the final year of his current contract.

Gibson, a native of Twilight, West Virginia, took over as defensive coordinator in 2014, helping Dana Holgorsen steady an Achilles’ heel for the program. This was his second term at WVU, he coached defensive backs under Rich Rodriguez from 2001-2007.

WVU finished 2018 ranked fifth in the Big 12 Conference in total defense, averaging 27.2 points 406.67 yards per game. The Mountaineers did force 10 interceptions and recovered nine fumbles. WVU also recorded 29 sacks and 96 tackles for loss.

During his five seasons as DC, Gibson helped seven Mountaineers land in the pros. Kyzir White (2018), Rasul Douglas (2017), Karl Joseph (2016), Daryl Worley (2016), Nick Kwiatkoski (2016), K.J. Dillon (2016), and Shaq Riddick (2015) were all drafted after being coached by Gibson.

It’s likely he’ll help another young man get drafted, as linebacker David Long Jr. hopes to hear his name called between April 25-27.

Rumors swirled that Gibson would remain at WVU, but, as Shane Lyons stated, “Tony’s moving on. Tony wants to coach football,”

“He’s very good at it and I want to help him. I don’t know how that got out there,” assured Lyons.

Brown has full control of his staff, according to WVU athletic director Shane Lyons, and it makes sense he would bring with him a defensive coordinator who helped him win a 2017 Sun Belt title, three bowl games and 35 total games at Troy.