Gilbertson Named Washington Football Coach

July 29, 2003

SEATTLE -- Washington athletic director Barbara Hedges announced today that Keith Gilbertson has been named the head football coach at the University. The 2003 season will be the ninth year of coaching at Washington for Gilbertson. He is currently in his third term of service with the Husky program. He was a graduate assistant coach in 1975, an assistant coach from 1989-91 and again from 1999-2002.

Gilbertson becomes the 24th coach in the program's history. At age 55, he is the oldest individual to be named Washington's head coach. Gilbertson replaces Rick Neuheisel, who was terminated by on June 12 after guiding the Huskies to a 33-16 record over the past four seasons.

Gilbertson's four-year contract includes annual total compensation of $870,000.

Gilbertson's previous head coaching experience includes stints at Idaho (1986-88) and California (1992-95). He has a combined record of 48-35 at those two schools over seven seasons.

Gilbertson has been the Huskies' offensive coordinator the last three seasons. He was also a graduate assistant coach at the UW in 1976, as offensive line coach in 1998-90 and as the offensive coordinator in the national championship season of 1991. In 1999, he returned to Washington as assistant head coach and tight ends coach before being named offensive coordinator prior to the 2000 season.

In his two terms as the UW's offensive coordinator, Gilbertson built a reputation for varied and potent offenses. Gilbertson was instrumental in developing Washington's offense into one of the most explosive in the nation between 1989 and 1991. He was the Huskies' offensive line coach his first two seasons and took over as the offensive coordinator in 1991 when Washington won the national championship. The 1991 Washington team led the Pac-10 in total offense, rushing offense and scoring offense, relying on a balanced attack

In 2002, that offense was the most potent passing attack ever seen not only at Washington, but also in the Pac-10. Junior quarterback Cody Pickett smashed the Pac-10 record for single-season passing yardage and completions while the UW threw for 4,501 yards as a team, breaking the old Pac-10 record by 712 yards.

In 2001, with a sophomore Pickett taking over the signalcalling, the Husky offense was second in the Pac-10 in passing, averaging 279.5 yards per game. A year earlier, behind senior quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo, UW's option-oriented rushing attack led the Pac-10 and was 16th nationally. The Huskies' ability to come from behind in the fourth quarter helped UW to the Pac-10 title and the 2001 Rose Bowl Championship.

Gilbertson began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Idaho State (1971-74) and earned a degree in education from Western Washington, where he was a grad assistant in 1975.

After serving the 1976 season as a grad assistant at Washington for Don James, he was the offensive coordinator at Utah State from 1977 to 1981. In 1982 he joined Dennis Erickson's staff at Idaho for one season as the offensive coordinator. The Vandals recorded an 8-3 regular-season record and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA I-AA playoffs.

For three seasons, from 1983-85, he coached in the USFL for the Los Angeles Express. He returned to Idaho in 1985 as the offensive coordinator and helped the Vandals to a 9-2 regular-season record and another trip to the NCAA playoffs. The following season he took over as Idaho's head coach when Erickson was named head coach at Washington State.

Gilbertson led the Vandals to an 11-2 record in 1988, the best mark in school history. That year Idaho advanced to the NCAA Division I-AA semifinals and he was named the Big Sky Conference coach of the year. His 1987 and 1988 teams both won the Big Sky championships. His .757 career winning percentage is still the highest in Idaho history.

His three Vandal teams produced a combined record of 28-9 and advanced to the I-AA playoffs all three seasons. When he left Idaho his winning percentage (.757) ranked as the second best mark in the history of the Big Sky Conference. His winning percentage of .826 in conference games (19-4) was the best in league history.


Gilbertson has been the Huskies' offensive coordinator the last three seasons.


After working on James' staff at Washington from 1989-91, Gilbertson left the Huskies following the team's 1991 national championship season to take over as the head coach at California. His four-year stint as the Golden Bears' coach was highlighted by the 1993 team that posted a 9-4 record and defeated Iowa 37-3 in the Alamo Bowl. That win stands as California's last bowl victory. Gilbertson was also the last Cal coach to pin a loss on archrival Stanford until 2002.

Following his head coaching tenure at California, Gilbertson worked as an assistant coach for the Seattle Seahawks on Erickson's staff for three seasons. In 1996 he served as a defensive specialist and took over as the tight ends coach for the 1997 and 1998 seasons.

Gilbertson grew up in Snohomish, Wash., where his father, Keith, Sr., has been a long-time prep coach. He attended Snohomish High School before going on to play football at Central Washington in 1967, Columbia Basin Junior College in 1968, and Hawaii from 1969-70.

He later returned to earn his bachelor's degree in social sciences from Central Washington in 1971. Gilbertson earned a degree in education from Western Washington in 1974.

Born in Snohomish on May 15, 1948, he attended Snohomish High School. Gilbertson and his wife, Barbara, were married in 1988 and have two children, Kristin and David. Gilbertson also has an adult daughter, Ann, who resides in Los Angeles

Keith Gilbertson's Head Coaching Career
Year School Overall Conf. Finish
1986 Idaho 8-4 5-2 3rd Big Sky
1987 Idaho 9-3 7-1 1st Big Sky
1988 Idaho 11-2 7-1 1st Big Sky
Idaho Totals 28-9 19-4
(.757) (.826)
1992 California 4-7 2-6 9th Pac-10
1993 California 9-4 4-4 tie-4th Pac-10
1994 California 4-7 3-5 tie-5th Pac-10
1995 California 3-8 2-6 tie-8th Pac-10
California Totals 20-26 11-21
(.435) (.344)
Career Totals 48-37 30-25
(.565) (.545)
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