Gibbs Chosen to Replace Switzer

From Times Wire Services

University of Oklahoma officials today chose defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs to replace Barry Switzer, who resigned Monday as football coach at Oklahoma.

The university's regents will vote on the selection Wednesday.

"Gary Gibbs is one of the outstanding young coaches in the United States today," interim President David Swank said.

Played on Sooners Team

Swank said Gibbs, who played for the Sooners in college, also understands that the university's mission is to educate the athletes.

Gibbs, 36, appeared confident about taking on a job he said he had always desired. He brushed off questions about the pressure involved in following Switzer, the most successful coach in Oklahoma's history.

"I'm Gary Gibbs. I know what I can do," Gibbs said. "Your comparison is your comparison. We're going to go forward and make this thing happen."

Swank recommended Gibbs over two other assistant coaches--Merv Johnson and Jim Donnan. He said the choice was difficult to make.

Gibbs said he would evaluate his options before deciding what changes will be made in the coaching staff.

"I will be in complete control of the football program," Gibbs told the news conference.

"We will once again make people proud to associate with the University of Oklahoma," Gibbs said.

Gibbs noted the problems that have plagued the football program in recent months, including the arrest of five players on a variety of charges and the NCAA probation imposed in December.

'Remove That Cloud'

"We've got to remove that cloud," Gibbs said. "If we perform the way we're capable, if we do those things . . . we're going to be fine."

Switzer had recommended that the next coach be promoted from within.

Gibbs' only college experience--as a player and a coach--has been at Oklahoma. He played linebacker on the 1974 national championship team and has moved his way through the ranks as an assistant coach, becoming defensive coordinator in 1981.

"OU has a history of young coaches rising to the top," Athletic Director Donnie Duncan said. "In the years to come you'll understand why I made the recommendation to name Gary Gibbs as head football coach."

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