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January 16, 2013

Gibson a player's coach

Poll Tony Gibson's former players at West Virginia about what they learned from the Van, W.Va. native on and off the field and while you might get some different individual stories, the answers are all the same.

Gibson, or "Gibby", as past players refer to him was a favorite among the coaching staff and stood out at practice and during the games due to his willingness to put in work.

"They always term guys as player coaches and he was definitely one of those. Players play harder for a coach they respect and care about so it was nothing to go out and put it all on the line for Coach Gibson," former safety Jahmile Addae said.

Addae, a hard-hitting former All-Big East safety, spent eight seasons with Gibson as a player and a graduate assistant at both West Virginia and Michigan and he was able to take things from him and apply them to his own coaching style.

"I took a lot from Tony. I was with Coach Gibson from the time I was 17 until three years ago and those are important years for any person," he said. "But obviously being with your coach he has a certain type of effect on you and what you do on and off the field."

Addae has remained in contact with Gibson, something that is a common theme for many of his former protégés as the former assistant has remained approachable even to this day according to former cornerback Anthony Mims.

"Paying attention to detail is the best thing he taught me. That is something Gibby is really good at. Just like any coach he taught us all the tools we needed to be successful on the field," he said. "I never had a problem understanding what he wanted."

Angel Estrada, an All Big-East selection at safety, believes that Gibson served as a father figure for many of the players and his strong belief in family rubbed off on many members of the team.

"Phenomenal individual, great family man, great values and a great teacher," he said. "He believes in the kids and I think where I'm at now and I took a lot from Gibby."

"I find myself saying things to my son or doing things with my son and saying that's real coach Gibson," Addae added.

Estrada is currently coaching the wide receivers at West Liberty University and was admittedly inspired by Gibson taking full advantage of his early break into the coaching industry. He looks forward to learning more moving forward.

"Coach was always one of the first coaches there and one of the last to leave and coaching at the D1 level it's hard especially when you have a family," he said. "He figures out ways and he gets the job done. I value you all of that and he's a great person to look up to."

"He's never been fired anywhere. He gets hired so he's doing something right on the field," he added.

Dan Mozes was a consensus all-American, a three-time all-Big East selection and Rimington Award winner. The former West Virginia offensive center was recruited by Gibson and was excited to hear about the possibility of him returning to the sidelines at Mountaineer Field.

"He jokes with you and there is no doubt that you will get better recruits because Tony Gibson is there. He came to the Rimington Trophy Award show with me and I wish he could have made it to my wedding in Morgantown. The Gibson family is an all-around good West Virginia family and I'm glad I have someone I know there again now," he said.

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