March 20, 2017
NACOGDOCHES, Texas – Stephen F. Austin head coach Clint Conque today announced the addition of Tony Gilbert to the Lumberjack coaching staff. Gilbert will handle the responsibility of the SFA cornerback unit.
"I'm excited to have Tony rejoin my staff and bring his excitement and passion to Stephen F. Austin," Conque said. "I've known Tony for a long time and have a lot of respect for him and his abilities. He is a veteran coach that has experienced a great deal of success and feel he will make a significant impact on our program."
It will be the second time Conque and Gilbert have worked on the same sideline as the duo spent two seasons together at Central Arkansas, serving as Conque’s assistant head coach. During their stint in Conway, Gilbert helped the Bears rank among the top-10 nationally in both passing offense and total defense, helping lead UCA to its first-ever Division II playoff appearance in 2001.
Gilbert comes to Nacogdoches after spending the last three seasons at Eastern Illinois, serving as the Panthers’ special teams coordinators and cornerbacks coach. During his time in Charleston, Illinois, Gilbert helped lead EIU to the NCAA FCS playoffs in 2015 as the Panthers’ defensive unit ranked third in the FCS in turnovers gained.
Prior to his time at Eastern Illinois, Gilbert spent his second stint at Southern Arkansas as the Muleriders’ special teams coordinator, secondary coach and recruiting coordinator, working along side fellow SFA assistant coach Josh Lawson. Gilbert’s first go-round at Southern Arkansas came from 1997-2000 where he worked with the Muleriders’ defensive backs.
From 2011-12, Gilbert was on staff at Louisiana-Monroe, coaching the Warhawks’ secondary and helping ULM rank first in the Sun Belt Conference and among the top-25 nationally in both rushing and total defense. Prior to his time in Louisiana, Gilbert spent nine seasons at Arkansas State from 2003-10, working as a defensive backs coach and recruiting coordinator, coaching five players that signed NFL contracts.
Prior to Gilbert’s two-year stint with Conque at Central Arkansas and his first time on staff at Southern Arkansas, he spent five seasons at Southeast Missouri after spending two seasons as a graduate assistant at Missouri State, his alma mater, working with the Bears’ running backs.
A four-year letterwinner at running back for Missouri State, Gilbert earned his degree in 1989, followed by his master’s degree in 1991. He signed a free agent contract with the New York Giants in the summer of 1991 before beginning his coaching career. Gilbert is married to the former Regina Kuykendall as the two have been married for 30 years. They have two children – daughter Jackie and son Tony.
Gilbert will inherit a young but talented cornerback position in Nacogdoches, led by seniors Aaron Foy and Trent Perriman and junior Tarrin Mitchell. The trio combined for 79 tackles, 19 pass breakups and four interceptions in 2016, but was also stung by a number of injuries.
Gilbert is now one of five new members of the Lumberjack coaching staff, joining defensive coordinator Jeff Byrd, safeties coach Ben Beasley, running backs coach Jake Brown and linebackers coach Josh Lawson. The staff will get their first experience working with their new team when the Lumberjacks open spring practices Friday, March 24th, at Homer Bryce Stadium.