Gilford, a former BYU cornerback (1999-03) and first-team All-Mountain West Conference honoree, joins the staff after spending the previous two seasons at Southern Utah coaching the secondary, working primarily with cornerbacks.
“I feel blessed by the opportunities I’ve received both at SUU and now at BYU,” Gilford said. “SUU will always have a special place with me as the first Division I school to give me a chance to coach. I’m really looking forward to this opportunity to come back to BYU, where I played college football, and contribute once again to such a great program.”
Gilford’s Thunderbird secondary was one of the best among FCS programs in 2015. SUU’s defense racked up 20 interceptions, good for No. 3 in the FCS. Southern Utah’s pass defense limited opposing teams to just a 102.5 pass efficiency rating, ranking No. 9, an improvement over being ranked 111th the previous year. The T-birds gave up just 190.3 yards per game through the air and just 20.8 points per game, ranking 30th and 24th in the FCS, respectively.
In 2015, Gilford coached two Big Sky All-Conference first teamers in cornerback LeShaun Sims and safety Miles Killebrew. Both are projected NFL players as late-round 2016 NFL Draft picks by CBS Sports. Killebrew was selected to play in the Reese’s Senior Bowl while Sims recently participated in the East-West Shrine game.
Prior to working at Southern Utah, Gilford coached at Whittier College in Whittier, California, as a graduate assistant for two years, working with cornerbacks and assisting with special teams. He helped cornerbacks Tyquion Ballad and Josh Pride earn all-conference honors.
Gilford played in 37 games at corner for BYU with 28 starts, totaling 10 interceptions in his career. He had his best year in 2001 when he earned first-team All-MWC honors and started all 14 games including the Liberty Bowl against No. 22 Louisville. Gilford totaled 56 tackles and led the team with six picks, returning them 131 yards, including a 50-yard interception return against Utah to seal BYU’s 24-21 victory. His six interceptions ranked tied for No. 6 in the nation in 2001.
He entered his junior season with preseason All-America accolades and was named the 15th-best corner by Phil Steele but was slowed by a knee injury, limiting him to seven games. He finished his senior year starting all 12 games, recording two interceptions and a team-leading six pass breakups.
Gilford graduated from BYU in 2004 with a degree in sociology and earned a master’s in education from Whittier College in 2014. He and his wife Brittany have a son, Jernaro, Jr.