Dave Doeren completed his 2019 NC State Football coaching staff with the announcement that Tony Gibson will be joining the Wolfpack in the role of Co-Defensive Coordinator and Safeties coach. Gibson comes to Raleigh after having spent the previous six years at West Virginia, including the last five as Defensive Coordinator for the Mountaineers, and the last three years as Associate Head Coach.
The last six years marked Gibson’s second stint at West Virginia, having previously served as Defensive Backs Coach for the Mountaineers under Rich Rodriguez from 2001-2007. Much of Gibson’s career aligns with Rodriguez, as Gibson played for Rodriguez at Glenville State (WV), and earned his first coaching gig as an assistant on Rodriguez’s staff at his alma mater. Gibson followed Rodriguez from WVU to Michigan (2008-2010), and after Gibson spent the 2011 season coaching the secondary at ACC school Pittsburgh, the two got the band back together for one year (2012) at Arizona.
Gibson was in the market for a new job after former WVU Head Coach Dana Holgorsen left to take the head job for the Houston Cougars and new WVU Head Coach Neal Brown brought his Defensive Coordinator from Troy, former Clemson DC Vic Koenning, with him to Morgantown. Gibson was in the running for the head coaching position at WVU before the Mountaineers ultimately hired Brown.
Carrying with him a reputation as a great recruiter (especially in Pennsylvania and Ohio) and a coach who is loved by his players, Gibson should fit in extremely well on Doeren’s coaching staff. The 2016 Big 12 Defensive Coordinator of the Year by Athlon, Gibson ran a 3-3-5 defense at WVU, and his first three defenses were all productive. His last two WVU defenses were a significant step back, although it’s best to keep in mind that he was coaching defense in the Big 12, a conference where defense is typically optional (his 2018 squad ranked 4th in the Big 12 in Defensive S&P+ despite rankings 80th nationally).
For comparison, below are the NC State defenses during that same timespan:
While his resume isn’t as strong as Roof’s in terms of previous coaching experience, Gibson should be viewed as nothing less than an upgrade at the position. According to 247 Sports, Gibson has been credited with securing 12 4-star commitments in his career, whereas Roof has only three to his credit. Additionally, having previous experience in a five-DB defensive scheme should allow Gibson to shorten the learning curve in adapting to the Wolfpack’s style. While there are obvious differences between a 3-3-5 and a 4-2-5 (the base defensive scheme for NC State), the transition is much easier than it was for Roof, a career 4-3 coach who had to adapt to coaching safeties in a dramatically different scheme.