That's also where Gibson accidentally got back on track toward a return to his home state. The defensive coordinator at Pitt was Keith Patterson, who is now in the same position at West Virginia and was instrumental in hiring Gibson now.
Still, a West Virginian coaching at Pitt - and against the Mountaineers - was, to say the least, unusual.
"That was a nightmare,'' Gibson said, referring not necessarily to the job at Pitt but to having to walk back into Mountaineer Field in 2011 as a member of the Panthers' staff. "I was not looking forward to that at all. There were so many different feelings.''
The job at Pitt lasted just a year before Rodriguez was back in coaching and assembling a staff at Arizona. Gibson was among his first hires on a staff that now is dominated by former Mountaineer coaches.
But then when West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen began shaking up his defensive staff after a historically awful season in which the Mountaineers ranked among the worst defensive teams in the country, Gibson took notice. A short time later he was being offered a job. Gibson will coach WVU's safeties.
He couldn't be happier to be back. After playing football and graduating from both Van High School and Glenville State, Gibson had almost never left his home state. He coached at Gilmer County High School and at both Glenville and WVU Tech before rejoining Rodriguez, his college coach, at WVU. His only time out of state was a short stint at Cumberland University.
And he missed it.
"It didn't matter where I was - Michigan, Pitt, Arizona - you were always checking to see what West Virginia was doing,'' Gibson said. "It's where I'm from and where I belong.
"I've left coaching jobs before at other places, and when I did there were times I couldn't have cared less about what they were doing, never checking on them. Not all the places, but some of them. But West Virginia is just different.''
Returning after all the animosity and angst involved in the Rodriguez move to Michigan, Gibson understands there will likely be those in the West Virginia fan base who are at least torn about his return.
"I understand. I'm from here. I know the passion West Virginia fans have,'' Gibson said. "When something like that happens, things are said on both sides. But you have to understand, my passion for West Virginia is just like their passion.''
In addition to Gibson, two other new coaches are going through or have gone through the hiring process. Former WVU receivers coach Lonnie Galloway is awaiting approval to begin his job in the same position, while former East Carolina defensive coordinator Brian Mitchell was officially hired on Tuesday to become the cornerbacks coach.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.