Sam Washington will have to manage his first major staff shakeup of 2022.
According to sources close to the A&T football program, longtime assistant Shawn Gibbs has agreed to become the new head coach at Division II Fort Valley State. Reportedly, Gibbs is also expected to bring current A&T inside linebackers coach Denzel Jones with him to FVSU to help run the Wildcats defense.
Gibbs who served as A&T’s running backs coach and recruiting coordinator – and was considered a trusted aide to Washington, first arrived in Greensboro in 2011 under then-head coach Rod Broadway. Prior to coming to A&T, Gibbs also served under Broadway as running backs coach at Grambling from 2007-10 and at North Carolina Central from 2003-06.
Despite having no previous head coach or coordinating experience, Gibbs reportedly wowed the FVSU search committee with his clear vision for advancing the Wildcats football program.
The position became open last month when former head coach Maurice Flowers abruptly resigned on January 15 and later accepted the same role at his alma mater, Johnson C. Smith. Flowers led FVSU to a 5-5 record in 2021.
Gibbs is an alum of North Carolina Central, where he was a star running back from 1993-97. He still ranks among the Eagles all-time leading rushers with 1,687 yards.
Widely regarded as one of the best running back gurus in all of college football, Gibbs developed a stable of bigtime backs during his tenure at A&T, including Jah-Maine Martin, Michael Mayhew, Marquell Cartwright and current NFL star Tarik Cohen. Cohen finished his career as arguably the greatest player in school history with 5,619 rushing yards and 56 touchdowns.
Jones has served as A&T’s inside linebacker coach since 2018, after spending the 2017 season as a graduate assistant. He enjoyed a decorated playing career as a middle linebacker in A&T’s Blue Death Defense from 2011-15, finishing his 130 career tackles and earning Celebration Bowl Defensive MVP honors in 2015.
It is unclear how Washington plans to address the sudden vacancies on his coaching staff.
When former offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Chip Hester resigned right before the 2018 season to become the head coach at Barton College, Washington chose to promote from within – bumping quarterbacks coach Chris Barnette up to the coordinator role and naming graduate assistant Matt Pawlowski as the wide receivers coach.
When Pawlowski resigned in 2020, Washington looked outside the program this time, hiring former NFL player Nate Poole to coach the A&T wideouts.
The timing of Gibbs’ departure comes on the heels of last Wednesday’s National Signing Day in which the Aggies announced a class of 14 new players.