Gibson, Anae, and Leftwich depart Rodriguez coaching staff
After having the best first year as Arizona’s head coach in program history, with eight wins and a bowl victory on Dec. 15, Rich Rodriguez will have to make do with three fewer members of his coaching staff in 2013.
On Wednesday, Arizona Athletics announced that Tony Gibson, an assistant head coach, safeties coach and defensive special teams coach, will be leaving the Wildcats, making him the third coach in the last three weeks to leave for a job elsewhere.
Offensive line coach Robert Anae was hired as BYU’s offensive coordinator on Jan. 4; Spencer Leftwich, the tight ends and offensive special teams coach, took a position with UTEP as the assistant head coach and offensive line coach on Dec. 20.
Leftwich’s son is also a member of the team.
Gibson is returning to West Virginia as the cornerbacks’ coach on Dana Holgorsen’s staff, according to West Virginia Metro News.
The move comes as a bit of a surprise, considering Gibson’s long history with Rodriguez.
Gibson played for Rodriguez at Glenville State when Rodriguez was head coach there, and then coached the defensive backs for him there in 1996.
When Rodriguez became the head coach at WVU in 2001, Gibson joined him as a defensive backs coach and recruiting coordinator and remained there for the duration of Rodriguez’s 7-year tenure.
When Rodriguez went to Michigan, Gibson followed.
In his one year at the UA, Gibson worked primarily with the “Spur” and “Bandit” safeties, which included starters Tra’Mayne Bondurant and Jared Tevis and backups Wayne Capers Jr., Patrick Onwuasor and Blake Brady.
Of those five players, three are juniors (Bondurant, Tevis, Brady) and two sophomores (Onwuasor and Capers Jr.), and the collective inexperience was a contributing factor to Arizona’s mediocre pass defense in 2012.
The Wildcats allowed an average of 292.9 passing yards per game, ranked 117th in the nation, although West Virginia was even worse with an average of 312.5 per game and 118th ranking.
It is unclear who Rodriguez will replace Gibson or Anae with, but he has already promoted assistant director of football operations Charlie Ragle to replace Leftwich as the new tight ends coach.