On Monday morning, longtime Tops offensive coordinator and o-line coach Lawrence “Butch” Gilbert passed away at the age of 87.
Gilbert played at WKU from 1948 to 1951 and captained the team his senior year. Also, during the 1951 season, Gilbert earned All-Ohio Valley Conference honors as a center. Gilbert also kicked field goals for the Tops during his playing career.
After graduating from Western, Gilbert spent the next 17 years coaching at various high schools throughout Kentucky before joining the staff at WKU in 1969. He served as the offensive line coach under head coach Jimmy Feix for four seasons before being promoted to offensive coordinator in 1973. He held that position until the 1983 season. He then spent the 1984 season as an administrative aid and running backs coach before retiring.
Gilbert coached twelve offensive linemen at WKU that went on to win all-conference honors and three that were named to all-American teams. He came out of retirement briefly from 1989 to 1991 to coach kickers and special teams under then head coach Jack Harbaugh.
Even after his official retirement, Gilbert frequented the university, visiting and providing moral support to various football staffs throughout the years and further became a fixture of the Bowling Green community.
Members of the current WKU administration and the football coaching world paid tribute to Gilbert on social media throughout the day on Monday.
Heaven has gained an all-time great. I am incredibly thankful for the special time I spent with “Coach G” two weeks back. #RIPCoachG pic.twitter.com/urBOLnxIjY— Coach Mike Sanford (@CoachSanfordWKU) February 27, 2017
RIP COACH G one of the WKU GREATS!!! Thanks for everything you did for this university #GoTops https://t.co/gSIFITMmiA— Kenneth Martin (@Coach_Martin95) February 27, 2017
One of the greatest men I've ever been around. Thank you for everything Coach G https://t.co/4SyIHaMbRB— Cameron Clemmons (@UTCoachCam) February 27, 2017
A wonderful man, always enjoyed talking to Coach Gilbert. He was a loyal Hilltopper to the core. My thoughts and prayers to his family. https://t.co/oxQXTIqGgl— Todd Stewart (@ToddStewartWKU) February 27, 2017
Per Western Kentucky Football, the visitation will be Wednesday, March 1st, and the funeral Thursday, March 2nd. Both will be held at JC Kirby and Sons Funeral Home in Bowling Green.