MORGANTOWN, West Virginia — The West Virginia Mountaineers have one of the most challenging schedules in all of college football for the upcoming season with a season opener at Happy Valley against the nationally-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions looming.
Neal Brown is on the hot seat and if the Mountaineers don’t show major improvement, it’s very likely that he will be following the season, or even during the season if things get bad enough.
West Virginia will need someone to come in and immediately shift the culture of the football program and turn around five years of failure under Neal Brown.
That man is Tony Gibson.
Now at NC State, Gibson was the defensive coordinator for the Mountaineers from 2014 to 2018. He put together some solid defenses at WVU with his unique 3-3-5 stack. His most notable coaching job came in 2015 when his defense put together two shutouts in 13 games (44-0 vs. Georgia Southern, 49-0 at Kansas).
He has now carried that success over to NC State, being named a Broyle’s Award nominee for the 2022 season and was recently named the top defensive coordinator in the ACC, according to PFF.
Gibson, now 50 years old, seems primed to land his first opportunity at a head coaching gig in his career. Though many may believe it would be best for him to try the Group of Five waters first, the Van, West Virginia native could be just what the Mountaineers are looking for in their next head coach.
First off, he would be a complete change of pace hire from the last two head coaches – Dana Holgorsen and Neal Brown. Both are descendants of the Hal Mumme tree, and have offense-first philosophies. Gibson would obviously bring a defensive focused attack with him. This could bring a complete shift in style of play for WVU…a change that they so desperately need right now.
Quite possibly the best trait that Gibson brings with him is that his players love him. They play hard for him, and also play with a gritty toughness. If you can remember, he brought the “DAWGS” with him every game day.
That is an attitude, ladies and gentlemen, that could produce big results in the Big 12.
Last but not least, let’s talk the most important quality of Gibson’s. HE IS A WEST VIRGINIAN! He knows what this program means to the state – he cares. It would almost certainly be his dream job. He would not be looking at WVU as a stepping stone, this would be his endgame. This would be the job that he would hope to bring him into retirement.
This can’t be said about many of the potential candidates for the Mountaineers.
He’s coached in a lot of games, he was Dana Holgorsen’s right hand man, he’s a West Virginian, and his guys play with an edge. Tony Gibson knows the Mountaineer program and he knows how to make West Virginia a winner again.