Robert Wimberly is no stranger to Liberty, as his addition to Turner Gill's coaching staff in January 2012 marked the beginning of his second stint as an assistant coach with the Flames.
Wimberly previously worked on Liberty's staff for five seasons (2004-08) before he joined Gill's at Buffalo in 2009 to coach the Bulls' linebackers. He also followed Gill to Kansas for two season (2010-11) before returning to Liberty.
Gill gave Wimberly additional responsibility with his return to Liberty Mountain, as he was named Liberty's defensive coordinator, with direct supervision over the Flames' safeties.
Since joining Gill's staff, Wimberly has been instrumental in helping Liberty win three consecutive Big South titles (2012-14) and earning the program's first-ever appearance in the NCAA FCS Playoffs in 2014.
Liberty also finished the 2014 season ranked No. 17 in the country, the program's highest year-end ranking since 2008. The Flames were 9-5 in 2014, matching the second-highest win total in program history.
Since his return to the Flames, Wimberly has had 27 players receive All-Big South accolades and the program's first-ever Big South Defensive Player of the Year award in Chima Uzowihe in 2015. Additionally, the defensive lineman was also named a finalist for the 2015 STATS FCS Defensive Player of the Year award and STATS FCS and Associated Press All-America second teams.
Liberty finished the 2012 and 2013 seasons with top 20 ranked defensive units. The Flames ranked No. 15 in the country in total defense in 2012 (314.7 yards allowed per game) and No. 9 in 2013 (313.9). The Flames also ranked No. 5 in the country in scoring defense in 2013, as Liberty limited opposing offenses to 17.6 points per game.
During Liberty's run to the second round of the NCAA FCS Playoffs in 2014, Wimberly's defense ranked No. 3 in the country in turnovers gained (32), No. 6 in fumbles recovered (15) and No. 12 in interceptions (17).
Since joining Gill's staff, Wimberly has been instrumental in helping Liberty win four consecutive Big South titles (2012-14, 2016) and the program's first-ever appearance in the NCAA FCS Playoffs in 2014. Liberty also finished the 2014 season ranked No. 17 in the country — the program's highest year-end ranking since 2008. The Flames were 9-5 in 2014, matching the second-highest win total in program history.
Wimberly has also helped develop some of the rising stars in the professional ranks. Wimberly was the coach responsible for noticing the talents of Khalil Mack, who he helped Gill sign out of high school at Buffalo. The linebacker went on to be the No. 5 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft when he was selected by the Oakland Raiders.
Two of Liberty's defensive players have continued their careers beyond their time with the Flames.
Three-time All-Big South cornerback Walt Aikens finished his career with 162 tackles, 13 pass breakups, seven interceptions and six forced fumbles. His standout numbers caught the eye of professional scouts and allowed him to be selected in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins.
Safety Jacob Hagen rewrote several of Liberty's records under Wimberly's watch, one that saw him finish his career with 15 interceptions and 21 pass breakups. He was a two-time All-American and finished seventh in the final voting for the 2014 Buck Buchanan Award (top FCS defensive player in the country). He signed free agent contracts with the St. Louis Rams (2015) and Pittsburgh Steelers (2016) following graduation.
Wimberly's outstanding ability to teach the game of football has not gone unnoticed, as he was named the 2014 AFCA FCS Assistant Coach of the Year.
Prior to his return to Liberty, Wimberly worked two seasons as Kansas' safeties coach (2010-11) and one season as Buffalo's linebackers coach (2009). In 2009, the Bulls ranked No. 42 in the country in total defense, allowing 342.67 yards per game.
During his first stint on Liberty's coaching staff, Wimberly's on-field coaching responsibilities were to instruct Liberty's linebackers. He also served the staff as Liberty's director of high school relations.
During his first two seasons with the program, Liberty's linebackers excelled in production and led the team with more than 100 tackles both seasons. Nick Vaughn led the program with 105 tackles in 2004, and Manny Rojas finished with a team-best 102 stops in 2005.
Rojas finished as the Big South Conference's second all-time leading tackler (at the time of graduation) and was a three-time, all-conference honoree.
In 2007, Wimberly's linebackers continued to shine, helping Liberty finish the year ranked No. 24 in rushing defense (128.5 yards per game), No. 32 in scoring defense (22.3 points per game) and No. 40 in total defense (349.3 yards per game).
Wimberly also coached Vince Redd during his final collegiate season before the linebacker signed a free agent contract with the New England Patriots. Redd would go on to play two seasons with the Patriots, working with the squad in 2008 and 2009.
Before coming to Liberty, Wimberly served as a quality control assistant and graduate assistant at Wisconsin during the 2002 and 2003 seasons.
Wimberly was a four-year letterwinner at Alabama A&M, where he received his bachelor's degree in science and hospitality management in 2002. His senior year was abruptly ended after two games, due to a season-ending neck injury.
Wimberly completed his master's degree in educational policy and administration at the University of Wisconsin in 2005.
The native of Miami, Fla., is married to the former Tracie Pruitt of Birmingham, Ala., and the couple has two children – Bianca and Josiah.
Wimberly at a Glance Coaching Experience: 2012-present – Liberty (Def. Coord., LB, S) 2010-11 – Kansas (S) 2009 – Buffalo (LB) 2004-08 - Liberty (LB) 2002-03 – Wisconsin (QC, GA) Recruiting Area: Virginia (Richmond/Hanover/Henrico County), Arizona, Florida (Brevard/Dade/Duval/Jacksonville), Georgia (Atlanta/Gwinnett), Nevada, New Mexico and Utah Education: Bachelor's degree in science and hospitality management (Alabama A&M, '02), Master's degree in educational policy and administration (Wisconsin, '05) Hometown: Miami, Fla. Wife: Tracie Children: Bianca and Josiah