Former Pitt defensive lineman Sean Gilbert was hired as the head coach of the Livingstone College football program on Thursday. Livingstone is a historically black college in Salisbury, North Carolina, that competes at the Division II level, and Gilbert was hired after serving as an assistant at South Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Gilbert's predecessor, Daryl Williams, was not retained after compiling a 22-46 record over the past seven seasons. That decision was made public earlier this month, and the remainder of Williams' staff was dismissed on Wednesday, the day before the Gilbert hire was announced by the school.
The Pitt alum inherits a program in turmoil in multiple ways, as the Blue Bears are coming off a 4-6 campaign that ended in six straight losses, including three shutouts at home. In addition, three members of the Livingstone football team were injured in a shooting in Salisbury on Sunday, including running back Darryel Georn Bethune Jr., linebacker Juwan Funderburk and quarterback Ryan Williams. Williams was paralyzed as a result of the shooting, according to Shavonne Walker of the Salisbury Post, who spoke with local police.
Livingstone president Jimmy R. Jenkins Sr. discussed his rationale for hiring Gilbert at a press conference on Thursday, emphasizing Gilbert's commitment to community service and his ability to guide student athletes toward making good decisions as key selling points.
"I believe Mr. Gilbert stands head and shoulders above the [other candidates] because of the work he is doing outside of football, which complements our holistic values curriculum," Jenkins said, according to Dennis Davidson of the Salisbury Post. "I believe he will be a great role model for our student athletes in particular and for our entire student body in general. Needless to say we expect to win football games as well."
Gilbert has significant ties to Pitt and the Pittsburgh area, as he is the uncle of former Pitt star Darrelle Revis and a relative of several other former Pitt players. In addition, he is a native of Aliquippa, where he was named an All-American and won a WPIAL title in 1988.
The lineman moved on to Pitt in 1989 and had a breakout season in 1991 that led to his selection in the first round of the 1992 NFL draft. He would go on to play 11 seasons in the NFL, with stints as a member of the Los Angeles Rams, Washington Redskins, Carolina Panthers and Oakland Raiders.