A fair amount of eyebrows were raised late last November when longtime tight ends coach Steve Clark was fired from BYU.

The Cougars on Friday night announced that they are turning to a former player who has coached in the NFL for a decade to replace him.

Kevin Gilbride, who spent his freshman season of college at BYU as a quarterback in 1998 before transferring to Hawaii and has been on coaching staffs with the New York Giants, Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers, will replace Clark.

Gilbride, 44, spent last season in the college ranks with the Charlotte 49ers as an offensive analyst following a two-year stint with the Panthers.

“I am so excited to welcome Kevin, his wife Rachel, and their family to BYU,” Cougars head coach Kalani Sitake said in a statement.

“Kevin brings expertise and incredible experience to the tight end room. He has won as a tight ends coach at the highest level, comes with an extensive knowledge of the position and is highly regarded in the college coaching ranks and in the NFL. Kevin will be an excellent mentor for our young men in that position group and for our entire program.”

Said Gilbride in a statement: “BYU is a special place where I started my college career and to come back full circle and coach here with my family is such an incredible opportunity. I have a deep respect and appreciation for the university and what it stands for, its tradition and passionate fans, and all of the people associated with it. Those things make a difference, and I am excited to be a part of this program again.”

Immediately after graduating from Hawaii in 2003, Gilbride joined the coaching staff at Syracuse, and also spent time at Georgetown and Temple before jumping to the NFL with the Giants in 2010.

Gilbride was with the Giants in a few different roles until 2017, and then was with the Bears from 2018-2019 as their tight ends coach before joining the Panthers for the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

In all, Gilbride has served as a tight ends coach four different times.

“Kevin’s resume speaks for itself,” BYU offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick said in a statement. “He has been a tight ends coach for most of his career. He brings the expertise to elevate the established tradition of great tight end play at BYU and to develop our players for the NFL.”

Gilbride’s father, also named Kevin, was the head coach of the NFL’s San Diego (now Los Angeles) Chargers for two seasons from 1997-1998, where he compiled a 6-16 record.