Provided by Texas Tech Athletics
LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech Head Football Coach Kliff Kingsbury has announced the hiring of David Gibbs as defensive coordinator. Mike Smith, who had served as interim defensive coordinator following the resignation of Matt Wallerstedt on Sept. 18, will return to his role as co-defensive coordinator.
Along with the appointment of Gibbs, Kingsbury announced that Zac Spavital will join the staff as a defensive assistant coach while current running backs coach Mike Jinks has been elevated to associate head coach.
"I am extremely excited to have Coach Gibbs and Coach Spavital join our staff," Kingsbury said. "What they were able to accomplish in their short time at the University of Houston is incredible. Coach Gibbs developed UH into a Top-20 defense that lead the country in turnovers over a two-year span. With stops in both College Football and the NFL, Coach Gibbs will bring experience and ingenuity to our defensive unit."
Gibbs comes to Texas Tech after spending the last two seasons as defensive coordinator at the University of Houston. He also served as interim head coach of the Cougars in Friday's 35-34 win over Pittsburgh in the Armed Forces Bowl. Trailing 24-6 at the end of the third, Houston scored 29 points in the fourth to set the NCAA record for the largest fourth quarter comeback in a bowl game.
The 22-year coaching veteran will bring both experience and stability to a Texas Tech defensive unit that has been led by six different coaches since 2009. Gibbs has seven years experience as a defensive coordinator at the FBS level and nine years of NFL coaching experience.
"I couldn't be more excited about joining Coach Kingsbury and the rest of our coaching staff," Gibbs said. "I have followed Kliff's career and believe special things are happening in Lubbock. There are several talented, young defensive players that will contribute for years to come. I am grateful for this opportunity and look forward to getting started soon."
In his first season at Houston in 2013, Gibbs led a Cougar defense that was the third-most improved scoring defense in the FBS. The Cougars ranked 20th nationally in allowing 21.8 points-per-game in 2013 after allowing 36 points-per-game in 2012. The 2013 Houston defense led the nation with 43 turnovers-forced to help lead the Cougars to a nation's best +25 turnover margin. Trevon Stewart led the nation and set a UH record with six fumble recoveries while Adrian McDonald led The American Athletic Conference with six interceptions.
The improvement continued in 2014 as the Cougars finished the regular-season ranked 19th nationally in total defense (334.6 yards-per-game), 11th in scoring defense (19.5 points-per-game) and ninth in turnovers gained (30). The Cougars also had success stopping the run as his unit ranked 31st nationally in rush defense, allowing just 136.3 yards-per-game.
Prior to Houston, Gibbs' last collegiate coaching stop was 2005 when he served as defensive coordinator at Auburn. 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.
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.
Zac Spavital, who just completed his seventh season at Houston, will join Gibbs' defensive staff at Texas Tech. His coaching assignments have not yet been determined.
Spavital spent seven seasons working with the Houston defensive backs and added the title of recruiting coordinator in 2011. Last season, the Cougars led the nation with 43 turnovers forced while Spavital's defensive backs accounted for 29 of those turnovers.
In 2014, Houston defensive backs accounted for 19 of the team's 30 turnovers forced. The 19 interceptions ranked tied for 8th nationally.
Mike Jinks, Texas Tech's running backs coach since 2013, has been promoted to associate head coach following another strong season in which Tech running backs enjoyed success. Under his guidance, junior running back DeAndre Washington became the first Red Raider to run for 1,000-plus yards since Ricky Williams did so in 1998.