Claude Gilbert

Claude L. Gilbert (born July 10, 1932)[1] is a former American college football coach. He served as head football coach at San Diego State University from 1973 to 1980, and San Jose State University from 1984 to 1989, compiling a career record of 99 wins, 56 losses and three ties.

Claude Gilbert

Gilbert attends a fundraising event at San Jose State in 2017.
Biographical details
Born (1932-07-10) July 10, 1932 (age 89)
Oklahoma
Playing career
1950, 1955 Bakersfield
1957–1958 San Jose State
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1959 Tulare HS (CA) (assistant)
1960–1962 Shafter HS (CA)
1963–1965 Bakersfield (assistant)
1966 Southwestern (CA)
1967–1968 San Diego State (OL)
1969–1972 San Diego State (DC)
1973–1980 San Diego State
1981–1983 San Jose State (DC)
1984–1989 San Jose State
1991–1992 Frankfurt Galaxy (DC)
1994 Highland HS (NM)
1995–1999 San Diego State (DC)
Head coaching record
Overall 99–56–3 (college)
Bowls 1–1
Accomplishments and honors
Championships
4 PCAA / Big West (1974–1974, 1986–1987)

. . . Claude Gilbert . . .

Born in Oklahoma,[2] Gilbert graduated from Bakersfield High School in Bakersfield, California in 1950. He went to Bakersfield College for a year and played on the football team before serving in the United States Air Force for the Korean War. He returned to Bakersfield College, then transferred to San Jose State University in 1956 and lettered in football for two years with the San Jose State Spartans.[3]

Gilbert was an assistant football, wrestling, and track coach at Tulare High School in Tulare, California from 1959 to 1960.[4]

After serving as assistant to San Diego State coach Don Coryell for six seasons, Gilbert succeeded him as head coach in 1973. He compiled a 61–26–2 record and won three conference titles, ranking second in Aztec victories and winning percentage only to Coryell. They finished 10-1 in both 1976 and 1977. 1977 also saw the Aztecs crush Bobby Bowden‘s Florida State team 41–16, and finish ranked 16th in the nation.[5] During a transition from relying on junior college transfers to recruiting high school students, the Aztecs went 4–8 in 1980 and fired Gilbert in a controversial move.[6]

Gilbert later became head coach at his alma mater, San Jose State, from 1984 to 1989. He compiled a 38–30–1 record, including a pair of consecutive 10–2 seasons in 1986 and 1987. Gilbert was fired from San Jose State following the 1989 season after signing 21 junior college transfers, against orders from administration to limit scholarships offered to such student-athletes.[7] Gilbert sued San Jose State for wrongful termination in 1990, but a state appeals court dismissed the lawsuit in 1992.[8][9]

Gilbert returned to San Diego State as defensive coordinator under Ted Tollner in 1995, and oversaw consecutive eight-win seasons, which was not achieved until 2010 and 2011.

Gilbert was inducted into the Aztec Hall of Fame in 2004, and into the Spartan Stadium Ring of Honor in 2006.

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
San Diego State Aztecs(Pacific Coast Athletic Association)(1973–1975)
1973 San Diego State 9–1–1 3–0–1 1st 19
1974 San Diego State 8–2–1 4–0 1st
1975 San Diego State 8–3 3–2 3rd
San Diego State Aztecs(NCAA Division I independent)(1976–1977)
1976 San Diego State 10–1
1977 San Diego State 10–1 19 16
San Diego State Aztecs(Western Athletic Conference)(1978–1980)
1978 San Diego State 4–7 2–4 T–5th
1979 San Diego State 8–3 4–2 3rd
1980 San Diego State 4–8 4–4 T–4th
San Diego State: 61–26–2 20–12–1
San Jose State Spartans(Pacific Coast Athletic Association / Big West Conference)(1984–1989)
1984 San Jose State 6–5 5–2 3rd
1985 San Jose State 2–8–1 2–4–1 6th
1986 San Jose State 10–2 7–0 1st WCalifornia
1987 San Jose State 10–2 7–0 1st LCalifornia
1988 San Jose State 4–8 4–3 T–3rd
1989 San Jose State 6–5 5–2 T–2nd
San Jose State: 38–30–1 30–11–1
Total: 99–56–3
      National championship        Conference title        Conference division title or championship game berth

. . . Claude Gilbert . . .

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. . . Claude Gilbert . . .