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January 9, 2013

Reports: Arizona safeties coach Tony Gibson headed to West Virginia

Rich Rodriguez is losing one of his longtime assistants.

Arizona announced Wednesday morning that safeties and defensive backs coach Tony Gibson is no longer with the program. Several reports out of West Virginia indicate that the 40-year-old is set to return as the cornerbacks coach.

West Virginia had not released an official, as of Wednesday morning.

The Van, W. Va., native's first stint in Morgantown was as a defensive backs coach and recruiting coordinator during Rodriguez's entire tenure from 2001-07. Gibson developed a reputation as one of Rodriguez's top recruiters, as the Mountaineers were 60-26 during that span.

Gibson, who played defensive back for Rodriguez at Glenville State from 1990-93, then followed Rodriguez to Michigan for a rocky three-year stint starting in 2008.

While Rodriguez took a year off from coaching in 2011, Gibson went to Pittsburgh before reuniting with him longtime friend in Tucson.

Gibson coached the "bandit" and "spur" safeties in defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel's 3-3-5 defense. A thin unit without much of a pass rush, the Wildcats allowed 292.3 passing yards per game (117th out of 120 FBS teams).

Ranked directly behind was WVU, which fired assistants Daron Robert and Steve Dunlap.

Gibson's vacancy is the second on the UA staff. Former offensive line coach Robert Anae returned to BYU last week to become the program's offensive coordinator for a second time.

Tracy McDannaldTracy McDannald
GOAZCATS.com Senior Editor

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