MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Tony Gibson isn't yet officially a member of West Virginia's football coaching staff, but he's no longer on Rich Rodriguez's staff at Arizona, either.Gibson is expected to be hired by WVU coach Dana Holgorsen to fill one of the two vacancies on his defensive coaching staff. The only hold-up, according to sources, is Gibson going through the formal university hiring process.That the move is merely a formality was all but confirmed Wednesday when Arizona officials said that Gibson was no longer a member of the Wildcats' staff. Gibson formally resigned.The Boone County native was expected in Morgantown Wednesday or today.
Gibson was the safeties coach at Arizona under Rodriguez, the former West Virginia coach. He coached at WVU during Rodriguez's entire tenure as the head coach from 2001 to 2007, serving as the cornerbacks coach and, for his final season, doubling as the recruiting coordinator.Whether Gibson will coach cornerbacks or safeties in his second turn with the Mountaineers is unknown. Holgorsen fired cornerbacks coach Daron Roberts at the end of the regular season and outside linebackers coach and special teams coordinator Steve Dunlap last week. In addition, he elevated inside linebackers coach Keith Patterson to defensive coordinator, replacing Joe DeForest.DeForest was also the safeties coach and remains on staff, but how Holgorsen will make specific position assignments is unclear.
Gibson was one of the West Virginia coaches who left with Rodriguez and went to Michigan following the 2007 regular season and was with the Wolverines until Rodriguez was fired after the 2010 season.His link to the current coaching staff at WVU, however, is not through Rodriguez, but Patterson. In the year that Rodriguez was out of coaching before taking the job at Arizona - and bringing Gibson with him - he was the secondary coach at Pitt. Patterson was the defensive coordinator that year under head coach Todd Graham.A graduate of Van High School, Gibson played college football at Glenville under Rodriguez.One other name has been mentioned in regard to the defensive openings. Brian Mitchell, who was fired last week as the defensive coordinator at East Carolina, also coached the Pirates' secondary. He and Holgorsen crossed paths when both were at Texas Tech.At least one published report Wednesday night said Mitchell had been hired, but that couldn't be confirmed.Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.