David Gibbs, who last coached with the NFL's Denver Broncos, has been chosen to replace Gene Chizik, who left Auburn last month to become assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator at the University of Texas.
Chizik served as Auburn's secondary coach and defensive coordinator the past three years.
"He kind of reminds of a young Al Borges--a student of the game," Tuberville said. "His dad is still a very high profile coach in the NFL. After visiting with him, and probably a dozen other people about this job, there is no doubt he fits what we need."
Gibbs, who coached safeties for one season with the Broncos and the whole secondary for 2 1/2 seasons, has four years as a defensive coordinator at the collegiate level at the University of Minnesota.
Gibbs graduated from Auburn High School where he was an outstanding athlete while his father, Alex Gibbs, was an offensive line coach at Auburn University as an assistant to head coach Doug Barfield. Alex Gibbs moved on to the NFL and spent 10 seasons with the Denver Broncos where he developed a reputation as one of the nation's top offensive line coaches. He is currently coaching for the Atlanta Falcons.
David Gibbs, who is 37, was believed to have a variety of coaching opportunities despite being fired by Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan during the 2004 season. Reports from Denver indicate there were coaching disagreements between Gibbs and defensive coordinator Larry Coyer.
Gibbs, who was in Auburn over the weekend, joined the Broncos staff for the 2001 season after spending four seasons as defensive coordinator at the University of Minnesota where he also worked as secondary coach.
"My criteria for this job this year was trying to hire an NFL coach, somebody that can take us to the next level," Tuberville said. "This past year we kind of hit the wall on some things we were doing defensively. We kind of struggled the last part of the season in a couple of games we had. We felt like we needed to bring in somebody who could take us to another level in what we are doing on defense.
"We are not going to change anything we are doing defensively. We are going to add to it. I think David is going to be able to help us. What they did at Denver is almost exactly what we are doing. We will not change any of the terminology. He will have to adapt to that, which will be on his shoulders, but we did it last year with Al and it really worked out well for us going into spring practice."
Gibbs played football at Auburn High School and later for the University of Colorado where he played on four bowl teams and was a four-year letterman. He was a starter on CU's 1989 team that finished 11-1 overall and No. 4 nationally. He earned All-Big Eight Academic honors in 1990 as a senior on an 11-1-1 team that was co-national champion with Georgia Tech.
He moved to Minnesota as the nation's youngest Division I defensive coordinator where he inherited a Golden Gopher team that was ranked last in every Big 10 defensive statistical category. His 1999 defense that allowed 319.9 yards per game was his best. It ranked fourth in the Big 10 and 22nd nationally in total defense. It also led the conference in pass defense while being ranked No. 2 in the conference and No. 8 nationally in both scoring defense and pass defense efficiency.
Tuberville said Gibbs visited him in Auburn last weekend and two met on the road and talked about the job on the phone. He said of the group of coaches he was considering that Gibbs stood out as his clear favorite.
"There was no doubt who we needed to come here and coach this team," Tuberville said. "He has high energy. He is big on fundamentals and techniques. He is a player's coach. He works hard. He puts his arms around him. That is what I heard from the Denver coaches out there--the players really enjoyed playing for him and the coaches at Minnesota."
Tuberville said Gibbs had his pick of a variety of jobs. "I think we are fortunate to have him come here to Auburn."
At Minnesota, he coached safety Tyrone Carter, who won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back, an honor won by Auburn's Carlos Rogers last season. Carter was Minnesota's first player to win All-American honors in consecutive seasons since 1962.
Gibbs' 1998 defense, which ranked fourth in the Big 10 and 13th nationally in rushing defense at 103.7 yards per game, gave up the fewest yards on the ground of any University of Minnesota team since 1962. His defense has the top three single-season QB sack team totals in school history with 44 in 1999, 41 in 1997 and 38 in 1998.
In 2001 he coached the safeties with the Broncos and coached all of the defensive backs beginning in 2002.
Tuberville said he had no problems with the fact that Gibbs was fired during the 2004 season with the Broncos. "It was one of those things he stood up for and thank goodness for that because now he is going to be with us and we are going to benefit from it. It wasn't anything to do anything that would keep him from having a job anywhere else--I will put it that way."
Auburn is scheduled to begin spring practice on March 1st. Last season the Tigers broke in a new offensive coordinator, Al Borges.