Reports from Giants camp on Thursday indicated that offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride would retire after a season that left owner John Mara feeling the team’s offense was broken and Gilbride confirmed those reports later in the day.
Gilbride is calling it a career after 40 years coaching in the college and professional ranks, which is a good long run even if Mara’s comments create a perception that Gilbride’s decision wasn’t circumstantial. Mara, quarterback Eli Manning and coach Tom Coughlin both spoke glowingly about Gilbride in a statement from the team and Gilbride said he’s heading home to spend time with his family.
“I’ve enjoyed every minute of coaching,” Gilbride said. “Certainly the last 10 years with the Giants has been a special time, to be part of the bringing the Super Bowls to New York and New Jersey and the Giants organization. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the development of some of the young players that we brought along, certainly starting with Eli. But [also] Steve Smith and Victor Cruz; they hadn’t had a Pro Bowl receiver since 1968 and we brought two back to them. That’s been fun. And I thoroughly enjoyed being part of those exciting last-minute drives that we seem to excel at. That 2011 season, we had six or seven of them, including the Super Bowl.”
Gilbride wasn’t the most popular coach with Giants fans by the end of the run, but those rings will prove to be more memorable in the long run than a 7-9 record in 2013. Gilbride began his career as a graduate assistant at Idaho State and worked his way up the ladder to become an offensive coordinator in the NFL. He spent two years as the head coach of the Chargers and spent the last 10 years on Coughlin’s staff with the Giants.