Tony Gibson has agreed to return to West Virginia as secondary coach, five years after he left WVU to join Rich Rodriguez at Michigan, a source told MetroNews late Tuesday.
On Wednesday morning, Arizona announced Gibson was no longer with the program.
Gibson’s hiring will fill one of two openings on the Mountaineers’ defensive staff after head coach Dana Holgorsen fired Daron Robert and Steve Dunlap.
The other opening could soon be offered to Brian Mitchell, who was fired Jan. 3 after three seasons as East Carolina’s defensive coordinator.
The 40-year-old Gibson is a native of Van, W.Va. who played defensive back at Glenville State from 1990-93. After launching his coaching career with Division II stops at Glenville, Cumberland University and West Virginia Tech, Gibson joined Rodriguez at WVU from 2001-07, serving as defensive backs coach and recruiting coordinator.
The Mountaineers went 60-26 in that span, highlighted by three Big East titles and two BCS appearances, but Gibson and Rodriguez resigned in December 2007, leaving for Michigan four weeks before WVU upset Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl.
Gibson assisted Rodriguez during a calamitous three-year stint with the Wolverines, and after the staff was dismissed, he spent the 2011 season at Pitt, working as secondary coach alongside current WVU defensive coordinator Keith Patterson.
This past season, Gibson reunited with Rodriguez in Arizona, where he served as assistant head coach and oversaw the safeties and defensive special teams. The Wildcats went 8-5 with a 49-48 New Mexico Bowl victory over Nevada, but ranked 117th nationally in pass defense (292.8 yards per game), 118th in total defense (499 yards per game) and 84th in pass efficiency defense.