University of Houston head football coach Tony Levine named David Gibbs the program’s defensive coordinator on Tuesday. The 20-year coaching veteran has five years of experience as a defensive coordinator on the NCAA FBS level and nine years of NFL coaching experience.
Gibbs has been part of a coaching staff that has played in a bowl game in seven of his 11 years on the collegiate level. The latest came in his last collegiate coaching stop when he served as defensive coordinator at Auburn in 2005. The Tiger defense ranked sixth nationally in scoring defense, allowing just 15.5 points per game, while ranking 11th in sacks with 39 and 16th in third-down defense.
“We are thrilled to welcome David, his wife Debbie and their children, Hudson and Charlie Grace, to the Houston football family,” said Levine. “He has an extensive track record of defensive success, both on the collegiate and professional level, and we feel that his coaching style will translate well at the University of Houston. We have many connections in the coaching fraternity and every one of them spoke very highly of David. I look forward to getting started with David and I know our players do as well.”
On the professional level, Gibbs spent a combined nine seasons in Denver, Kansas City and Houston as a defensive backs coach. Teams sporting Gibbs on staff finished in the top 12 of total defense five times and advanced to the NFL Playoffs on three occasions. Three players under Gibbs earned NFL Pro Bowl selections in Champ Bailey, John Lynch and Deltha O’Neal.
“Our family loves the City of Houston and its people. It’s a great honor to be associated with the city’s premiere University as it ascends to the next level,” said Gibbs. “I’ve followed Tony closely throughout his career and I’m excited to work with him and the rest of our coaching staff. There is a lot of young talent coming back on the defensive side of the ball that any coach would appreciate, so I’m grateful for the opportunity and looking forward to getting started.”
Gibbs received his NFL start in Denver where in his first year the Denver defense ranked No. 6 in the league in interceptions and No. 9 in total defense. In 2002 the defense improved to No. 6 in total defense and No. 3 in passing touchdowns allowed.
The following two years saw Denver advance to the playoffs as the Broncos ranked fourth in the NFL in total defense both years. Both years saw the squad finish sixth in passing defense and in the top 10 of scoring defense.
In his return to the NFL in 2006, Gibbs assisted a Kansas City defense that improved in one season from 25th in total defense to 12th. In 2007, the Chiefs improved to No. 5 in the league in passing defense while ranking fourth in passing touchdowns allowed. The team allowed just one 300-yard passer in each of his first two seasons in Kansas City. After helping the 2008 Kansas City defense to finish ninth in turnovers forced, Gibbs moved to Houston where the Texans’ pass defense improved seven spots to 10th in the league in passing defense in his first year.
“David will do a tremendous job for the University of Houston,” said Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak. “He is a highly motivated individual with a strong motor. He has been a defensive coordinator on the college level and has NFL experience; he has done it all. David knows the City of Houston extremely well from a recruiting standpoint and I believe he is an excellent fit for Tony Levine and the Houston football program.”
Gibbs became the youngest coordinator on the FBS level at the time as the then 29-year old took over as a defensive coordinator at Minnesota in 1997. Gibbs improved a Minnesota defense that had ranked last in the Big Ten in 1996 to one that was ranked eighth in the nation in pass efficiency defense and scoring defense by 1999.
His defense helped lead the Golden Gophers to back-to-back bowl games in 1999 and 2000. Players from Gibbs’ span at the school (1997-2000) currently own 17 individual defensive records at Minnesota while his 1997 group holds the team record with 41 sacks in a season.
Under Gibbs’ tutelage, Tyrone Carter won the 1999 Jim Thorpe Award and back-to-back All-America honors in 1998 and 1999. Defensive end Lamanzer Williams earned All-American honors in Gibbs’ first year, 1997, as Gibbs’ defense produced an All-American in three consecutive seasons for the first time at Minnesota since 1961-63.
Defensive end Karon Riley was named the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2000. Under Gibbs, six Minnesota defensive players earned first team All-Big Ten honors while six more earned second team honors.
Gibbs earned his first full-time coaching position in 1995 at the University of Kansas where he coached the program’s defensive backs. The Jayhawks advanced to just their eighth bowl game in program history in Gibbs first year where they defeated UCLA in the Hawaii Bowl. Defensive back Dorian Brew earned All-Big Eight honors in Gibbs’ first season at Kansas while Tony Blevins and Jason Harris each earned All-Big 12 honors under Gibbs.
Gibbs first got in the coaching door with back-to-back two-year stints as a graduate assistant at Colorado and Oklahoma before moving on to Kansas. Oklahoma won the 1991 Gator Bowl while Colorado collected wins in the 1993 Aloha Bowl and 1994 Fiesta Bowl with Gibbs on staff.
The Auburn, Ala., native was a four-year letterman at the University of Colorado from 1987-90 and started at defensive back for the 1990 national-title winning Colorado team and the 11-1 1989 team that finished fourth nationally in the season’s final polls. Gibbs graduated from Colorado in 1990, earning Academic All-Big Eight honors as a senior.
Gibbs and his wife, Debbie, have one son, Hudson, and one daughter, Charlie Grace.