MORGANTOWN — How “Tweet” it is, the feeling between those who play have played for West Virginia and defensive coordinator Tony Gibson.
With coach Dana Holgorsen’s decision to defect to the University of Houston, a decision that is imminent, Gibson is the players’ choice to fill the head coaching vacancy that is expected to be created when Dana Holgorsen’s defection to the University of Houston becomes official.
While many of Gibson’s current players expressed thanks to him, players from both the past and present offered fervent pleas for the administration to hire in-house and promote Gibson. Despite the fervent support from players, Gibson is not popular with the public on social media — especially after the Mountaineers’ defense was savaged through the last three games of the season.
Former safety Kyzir White wasn’t afraid to speak for others when he expressed his support for Gibson.
“It’s only right coach @TonyGibsonWVU is the next head coach at WVU! The best to ever do it! Would run through a brick wall for him. Every player respects him and he brings the most out of all of us! Let’s do the right thing. Gibby deserves it.”
Kyzir’s brother, Ka’Raun White, agreed.
“Even though I was on the offensive side of the ball, I have nothing but love and respect for coach Gibby! @TonyGibsonWVU no one else is more deserving than him for the head job!”
Former fullback Elijah Wellman joined the White brothers in those sentiments, but only after first offering his thanks to Holgorsen for what Holgorsen did for him.
“Thank ya to @Holgorsendana for believing in an ole Wayne County boy. Good luck moving forward coach!!!!”
Wellman followed up on his message to Holgorsen with a message of support for Gibson.
“I think @TonyGibsonWVU should be the next head coach at WVU. He’s a country boy from Boone County, he’s put in his time and hard work for this state and deserves it. I’d do anything for him and I know his past and present players would say the exact same, 100%. #GibbyTrain2019”
It went on with one his former players, Terrell Chestnut, who had a lot to say.
“Coach @TonyGibsonWVU BLEEDS West Virginia and @WVUfootball through and through. A man that has the respect. A great recruiter, A great father, husband, mentor etc. @WVUADLyons @WVUfootball We don’t need to look too far for our next HC #hireGibby”
Chestnut followed up, once again with a display of support for Gibson.
“When @TonyGibsonWVU came back to WVU, he inherited a defense that was last in every statistical category that year and changed our image into some fierce DAWGS!
“Being able to assemble a great defense that displayed @K_DILLON20 @nkwiatkoski27 Karl Joseph, Daryl Worley, myself, @Shaqpett_36 Dravon Askew Henry.”
Chestnut’s thread ended with:
“With that being said, what we need for our next head coach is a guy who loyal, bleed WVU through and through and someone who can bring the best out each and every player and coach! We need @TonyGibsonWVU as the head guy!”
Jarrod Harper had this say:
“West Virginia is a place where you have to know the place, the people, what it means to put on that Gold & Blue! @TonyGibsonWVU bleeds the Gold & Blue. There is no one out there better suited for the head coaching job than Coach Gibby!”
Shaq Petteway also commented.
“Nobody better for the job.. Gibby a Real one!!! Gave me the opportunity I deserved and changed my life!”
And it wasn’t only players of Gibson’s from the past. Some of those from this year’s team jumped on, led by the man who led the way for the defense, Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year David Long, Jr..
“Come on now, y’all know the right guy for the job is already in the building!!!! I can’t think of anyone else more deserving! @TonyGibsonWVU let’s get the ball rolling!!”
And one of the young players that Gibson brought along, safety Kenny Robinson, a star waiting to be born:
“They better not bring no square in here man need somebody for the players fam”
Derrek Pitts Jr. was pretty straight to the point with his wish:
“I want coach Gibson as my head coach”
Even a placekicker, Nick O’Toole, got into the act.
“We appreciate you @Holgorsendana thanks for everything you did for this state! #HailWV @TonyGibsonWVU deserves the HC spot, West Virginia coal miner boy! He’d make the state proud!! #GibbyTrain2019”
And even some voices from the past made themselves loud enough to be heard.
“Shortlist here Mountaineer nation. Only man for the job @TonyGibsonWVU @WVUfootball #ProudAlum. #Dawgs”
And former quarterback Chad Johnston, who threw one of the greatest passes in Mountaineer history to beat Pitt, offered this;
“I certainly hope @TonyGibsonWVU gets consideration for the top spot. Over the last 20 years @WVUfootball no one has been more consistent or loyal, or has done better coaching or recruiting. As a former player, he always goes out of his way to make me feel welcome. Not all do.”
Johnston then added something he noticed about Gibson.
“To me, @TonyGibsonWVU is an edgy Don Nehlen. One of us, a gentleman. Would not give us uncertainty of whether he wanted to stay or looking for greener grass all the time. @WVUfootball @WVUADLyons Who knows what kind of O wins in Big XII better? Will find the right OC”
Chad Grier, the father of former West Virginia quarterback Will Grier, summed it all up.
“Very cool to see WVU players supporting Gibby. I was at ECU when the players pushed hard for Kevin Gilbride. It doesn’t always work out but it speaks to the culture and connection within the program #LetsGo”
While the players have continued to show support for Gibson, the final decision will — ultimately — not be up to them. They can only hope the big money in West Virginia — athletic director Shane Lyons and President E. Gordon Gee — believe the same things they do about Gibson.
Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter at @bhertzel.