MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- West Virginia University is promoting safeties coach Tony Gibson to defensive coordinator, sources told the Charleston Daily Mail, but the Mountaineers are not yet ready to announce the decision.
WVU has one open spot on the coaching staff, regardless of Gibson's promotion. It's possible that an announcement will address both moves, or that the final hiring will affect that announcement.
Sources said the Mountaineers have met with a number of candidates, including one Thursday, and that some have experience as a coordinator. While Gibson, who hasn't been a coordinator at the Division I level, is WVU's choice, a newly hired coach could be a co-coordinator or have some expanded role or title -- if only to encourage the candidate to join the staff.
Coach Dana Holgorsen nevertheless chose the 41-year-old Gibson and cohesion over outside candidates. Gibson, the WVU Tech coordinator from 1999-2000, coached the cornerbacks at WVU from 2001-07 and returned to the Mountaineers last season, based in part on the recommendation he received from Keith Patterson. Patterson was WVU's defensive coordinator last season and worked with Gibson when Patterson was the defensive coordinator at Pitt in 2011. Gibson was Patterson's secondary coach and pass game coordinator
Last week, the Daily Mail reported Gibson was the immediate favorite to succeed Patterson, who left to run the defense at Arizona State, because he was best suited to continue what Patterson started last season. Gibson will be Holgorsen's fourth defensive coordinator in his four seasons in charge at WVU.
Patterson coached linebackers, but a source said WVU has focused on defensive line coaches. A leading candidate, according to one source, is former Tampa Bay Buccaneers assistant Phil Galiano, who coached for Greg Schiano both at Rutgers and with the Bucs. He served as an assistant special teams coach for Schiano in Tampa until the staff was let go after the 2013 season.
A stint as Florida International University's defensive coordinator from 2007-09 was sandwiched in between periods with the Scarlet Knights. From 2003-06, he was a Rutgers graduate assistant, linebackers coach and defensive ends coach. He coached Rutgers' tight ends in 2010 and its defensive line in 2011.
Last week, the Daily Mail reported that Charlotte defensive coordinator Bruce Tall -- who was WVU's safeties coach from 2003-07, but has worked with the defensive line since leaving WVU to join the Michigan staff -- also was being considered.If WVU hires a defensive line coach, newly hired Damon Cogdell, a former Mountaineers linebacker, will likely become the linebackers coach. When hired last month, Cogdell was named a defensive assistant.