Keith Gilbertson

Keith Gilbertson
Sport(s) Football
Biographical details
Born (1948-05-15) May 15, 1948
Snohomish, Washington
Alma mater Central Washington University
B.S. 1971
Playing career
1967 Central Washington
1968 Columbia Basin JC
1969–1970 Hawaii
Position(s) Offensive line
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1971–1974 Idaho State (GA)
1975 Western Washington (GA)
1976 Washington (GA)
1977–1981 Utah State (OC)
1982 Idaho (OC)
1983–1985 Los Angeles Express (OC)
1985 Idaho (OC)
1986–1988 Idaho
1989–1990 Washington (OL)
1991 Washington (OC/OL)
1992–1995 California
1996–1998 Seattle Seahawks (asst.)
1999 Washington (AHC)
2000–2002 Washington (AHC, OC)
2003–2004 Washington
2005–2008 Seattle Seahawks (asst.)
2010–2011 Cleveland Browns (scout)
Head coaching record
Overall 55–51   (.519)
Bowls 1–0
Tournaments 2–3 (NCAA I-AA playoffs)

Keith Steven Gilbertson, Jr. (born May 15, 1948) is a retired American football coach and player. He was the head coach at the University of Idaho (1986–1988), the University of California, Berkeley (1992–1995), and the University of Washington (2003–2004), compiling a career college football record of 55–51. Gilbertson retired in 2011 as a coach.

Early life and playing career

The son of a high school football coach, Gilbertson grew up in Snohomish, Washington, northeast of Seattle. He graduated from Snohomish High School in 1966 and attended Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Columbia Basin College, the University of Hawaii, and returned to Central Washington, where he received a bachelor's degree in social sciences in 1971. He later earned a degree in education from Western Washington University in 1974.[1]

Coaching career

After three stints as a graduate assistant, Gilbertson became an offensive coordinator in 1977 at Utah State under head coach Bruce Snyder. After five seasons in Logan, he joined Dennis Erickson's new staff at Idaho, who immediately turned the Vandal program around in 1982, going 8–3 in the regular season and advancing to the quarterfinals of the I-AA playoffs. The following spring, Gilbertson departed for the Los Angeles Express of the newly formed USFL, where he coached as offensive coordinator for three seasons. Following the demise of the league, Gilbertson returned to Idaho in 1985, and the Vandals won their first Big Sky Conference title in 14 seasons. Erickson departed for Wyoming in December,[2] and Gilbertson was promoted to head coach of the Vandals program.[3] In his three seasons in Moscow as head coach (198688), Gilbertson's win-loss record was 28–9 (.757). Following consecutive conference championships and advancing to the Division I-AA national semifinals, Gilbertson interviewed at UTEP in December 1988 but withdrew from consideration.[4] Days later he accepted an offer to coach the offensive line in the Pac-10 at Washington in Seattle under head coach Don James and offensive coordinator Gary Pinkel.[5][6][7] Gilbertson replaced Dan Dorazio, the first assistant coach James had fired at Washington,[8] after they missed the bowl season for the first time in a decade. (After three wins to start the 1988 season, the Huskies finished 6–5 and 3–5 in conference, with losses to USC, UCLA, Oregon, Arizona, and WSU.) Gilbertson's three-year stint concluded with the undefeated 1991 national championship team, for which he was also offensive coordinator.

After Washington, Gilbertson became the head coach at California in 1992. Despite leading Cal to a 9–4 record with a decisive victory in the 1993 Alamo Bowl, he was dismissed after his fourth season when the 1995 Bears went 3–8. Gilbertson's overall record at Cal was 20–26 (.435).

After Cal, he was an assistant coach for the NFL's Seattle Seahawks for three seasons (1996–1998) under Erickson. He would serve as the TE coach for the 1997 and 1998 seasons. In 1999, he returned to the Washington Huskies as an assistant head coach under new head coach Rick Neuheisel.

Gilbertson became the head coach at Washington in 2003 following the abrupt summer dismissal of Neuheisel. His first season was fairly respectable at 6–6; only a blowout loss to Cal in the next-to-last game of the season kept the Huskies out of a bowl game. The bottom fell out a year later, in which the Huskies finished 1–10, including only their second winless PCC/Big Five/Pac-8/Pac-10 record in peacetime. He was fired near the end of the season. His record at Washington was 7–16 (.304), the second worst coaching record in the history of the program, next to that of his successor, Tyrone Willingham.[9] He then returned to the Seahawks as an assistant under Mike Holmgren.

Gilbertson's overall record as a collegiate head coach is 55–51 (.519).

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Idaho Vandals football (Big Sky Conference) (1986–1988)
1986 Idaho 8–4 5–2 T–2nd L Division I-AA First Round
1987 Idaho 9–3 7–1 1st L Division I-AA First Round
1988 Idaho 11–2 7–1 1st L Division I-AA Semifinal
Idaho: 28–9 19–4
California Golden Bears (Pacific-10 Conference) (1992–1995)
1992 California 4–7 2–6 9th
1993 California 9–4 4–4 T–5th W Alamo 24 25
1994 California 4–7 3–5 T–6th
1995 California 3–8 2–6 T–8th
California: 20–26 11–21
Washington Huskies (Pacific-10 Conference) (2003–2004)
2003 Washington 6–6 4–4 T–5th
2004 Washington 1–10 0–8 10th
Washington: 7–16 4–12
Total: 55–51
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
#Rankings from final Coaches Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.


  1. 2003 Washington Football Media Guide, p. 78-79
  2. Boling, Dave (December 2, 1985). "Erickson leaves Idaho for Wyoming". Spokane Chronicle. Washington. p. C1.
  3. Boling, Dave (December 6, 1985). "Idaho passes the football to Gilbertson". Spokane Chronicle. Washington. p. C1.
  4. Boling, Dave (December 21, 1988). "Gilbertson withdraws". Spokane Chronicle. Washington. p. C1.
  5. "Goodbye Gilby". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. Associated Press and staff reports. December 24, 1988. p. B1.
  6. Meehan, Jim (December 24, 1988). "Official: Gilbertson leaving Vandals to accept Husky post". Idahonian. Moscow. p. 1D.
  7. "Former Idaho coach key for Huskies". Ellensburg Daily Record. Washington. Associated Press. December 28, 1990. p. 12.
  8. "Huskies have Gilby look". Spokane Chronicle. Washington. Associated Press. April 18, 1989. p. B1.
  9. Raley, Dan - Gilbertson ousted as UW coach. SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, Monday, November 1, 2004

External links

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