One of Gilbertson’s first jobs in coaching was as a GA at Washington in 1976. From there he became the offensive coordinator at Utah State, Idaho, and a few other stops before returning to his hometown of Seattle to coach the offensive line for the Huskies in 1989.
Then, Gilbertson bounced around again from California to a job as an assistant for the Seattle Seahawks before settling back in at Washington under Rick Neuheisel and taking over the Washington program in the summer of 2003 after Neuheisel’s surprise dismissal.
Gilbertson was dealt a tough hand but responded by sinking the program to depths it had never seen before, and in short order. In Year 1, he managed to keep the team together enough to finish 6-6 and narrowly miss out on a bowl game.
The next season, Washington went 1-10 under Gilbertson and fired him to move on to Tyrone Willingham. It didn't get much better from there.