Keith Gilbertson
Biographical details
Born (1948-05-15) May 15, 1948 (age 73)
Snohomish, Washington
Alma materCentral Washington University
B.S. 1971
Playing career
1967Central Washington
1968Columbia Basin JC
Position(s)Offensive line
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1971–1974Idaho State (GA)
1975Western Washington (GA)
1976Washington (GA)
1977–1981Utah State (OC)
1982Idaho (OC)
1983–1985Los Angeles Express (OC)
1985Idaho (OC)
1989–1990Washington (OL)
1991Washington (OC/OL)
1996–1998Seattle Seahawks (assistant)
1999Washington (AHC)
2000–2002Washington (AHC, OC)
2005–2008Seattle Seahawks (assistant)
2010–2011Cleveland Browns (scout)
Head coaching record
Tournaments2–3 (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. Shortly after, Gilbertson departed for the Los Angeles Express of the newly-formed USFL, where he coached as offensive coordinator for three spring seasons. Following the demise of the league, Gilbertson returned to Idaho in 1985, and the Vandals won their first Big Sky Conference title in fourteen years.

Erickson departed for Wyoming in December,[2] and Gilbertson was promoted to head coach of the Vandal program.[3] In his three seasons in Moscow as head coach (198688), Gilbertson's win–loss record was 28–9 (.757), which remains the best in UI history.[4] His 19–4 (.826) record in conference play was the best-ever in the Big Sky.[5]

Following consecutive conference championships and advancing to the Division I-AA semifinals, Gilbertson interviewed at UTEP in December 1988 but withdrew from consideration.[6] 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.[4][7][8] The compensation was similar to his Idaho salary, about $55,000;[7][9] Gilbertson replaced Dan Dorazio on the UW staff.[10][11] (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.[11]

Two weeks after winning the Rose Bowl, Gilbertson became the head coach at California in January 1992.[12] Despite leading Cal to a 9–4 record in 1993 with a decisive victory in the 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).[13]

After Cal, he was an assistant coach for the NFL's Seattle Seahawks for three seasons (1996–98) under Erickson; the last two years as tight ends coach. 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), at the time the worst in the history of the program; it has since been surpassed by that of his successor, Tyrone Willingham.[14] 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 NCAA Division I-AA First Round
1987 Idaho 9–3 7–1 1st L NCAA Division I-AA First Round
1988 Idaho 11–2 7–1 1st L NCAA 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 or championship game berth


  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. ^ a b "Good-bye Gilby". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press and staff reports. December 24, 1988. p. B1.
  5. ^ "Gilbertson leaves with the Big Sky's best-ever record". Idahonian. (Moscow). December 22, 1988. p. 12A.
  6. ^ Boling, Dave (December 21, 1988). "Gilbertson withdraws". Spokane Chronicle. (Washington). p. C1.
  7. ^ a b Meehan, Jim (December 24, 1988). "Official: Gilbertson leaving Vandals to accept Husky post". Idahonian. (Moscow). p. 1D.
  8. ^ "Former Idaho coach key for Huskies". Ellensburg Daily Record. Washington. Associated Press. December 28, 1990. p. 12.
  9. ^ "Gilby not spreading self at UW". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. April 19, 1989. p. D1.
  10. ^ "Hobert selects UW; James fires an aide". Spokane Chronicle. (Washington). November 22, 1988. p. C1.
  11. ^ a b Looney, Douglas S. (December 30, 1991). "Mr. Flexibility". Sports Illustrated. p. 34.
  12. ^ Curtis, Jake (January 15, 1992). "Cal names Gilbertson new coach". Spokane Chronicle. (Washington). (San Francisco Chronicle). p. D1.
  13. ^ "Cal says good-bye to Gilby". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. November 21, 1995. p. 1B.
  14. ^ Raley, Dan - Gilbertson ousted as UW coach. Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Monday, November 1, 2004