Gilbert ready to guide McNeese State football program

Published 1:39 pm Monday, December 10, 2018

LAKE CHARLES – “We’re going to play an exciting brand of football. We’re going to fire the cannons and ring the cowbells because we’re going to score points.”

It didn’t take long for new McNeese head football coach Sterlin Gilbert to bring cheers throughout the packed EndZone Club on Friday morning with those words when he was formally introduced to Cowboy Nation and the media as the program’s 16th head coach.

Gilbert, the former offensive coordinator at the University of South Florida, was officially hired on Wednesday.

“The work has already begun,” said Gilbert. “As soon as I got here, as soon as my feet hit the ground, the work was in motion. The good thing right now is we don’t play a game tomorrow but what we’re doing is setting the standard here today.”

The 40-year old stressed the importance of possessing a high standard for the program and student-athletes, including academics and graduating players, engaging the community, and building on a brand that’s already well known throughout the country.

“We’re going to set a standard,” said Gilbert. “It’s going to be a new standard and we’ll hold those guys (players) accountable each and every day. We will be invested in the success of our young men, athletically, academically and socially. We will graduate our players from McNeese and hold those guys to a high accountability to be great on campus, great in the classroom, and being able to walk out of here with a meaningful degree.”

A few players were in attendance for the press conference but most have already left campus for the semester break.

“I’m excited about getting in front of our players,” said Gilbert. “I can’t wait get my arms around them and start creating those relationships.”

Gilbert has run high-scoring and high-yardage offenses at every stop (Eastern Illinois, Tulsa, Texas, USF) and touched on bringing that style to McNeese.

“We’re going to play an exciting brand of football… an exciting brand,” he said. “We’re going to be extremely explosive on offense; we’re going to be extremely physical on defense; we’re going to play great and sound on special teams.”

Said Director of Athletics Bruce Hemphill: “the most attractive candidate, Coach Gilbert, was our first choice. And our choice parallels the McNeese vision and mission to change lives. His coaching experience and success is what drew us to him along with his focus to develop young men on and off the field.

“He’s a proven developer in offensive and quarterback production. He is ready to be a head football coach and is prepared to lead the McNeese Cowboys to championships.”

Gilbert said he’s expected to name a coaching staff sometime in January.

“I’ve had numerous amounts of texts and emails on my phone where people want to come to McNeese,” said Gilbert, “they want to come here and coach. They’re not just congratulating me. People want a job here. They want to work here. It’s a national brand and that excites me. The people that were here before me, the people that are here, have done an unbelievable job. We’re going to continue to do a great job in moving this program forward and continue to have a recognized brand throughout the country.

“Great people, great Southern hospitality, great food, great recruiting, great football… that’s what we get up in the morning for.”