Notebook: Outside Coaching Moves With A West Virginia Flavor
The offseason for college football always brings a great deal of movement within the coaching circles.
Neal Brown’s Mountaineer program saw two assistants leave (Blake Seiler to Old Dominion and Xavier Dye to USF), and he filled those positions a couple weeks ago with Jeff Koonz (linebackers/special teams coordinator) and Gerad Parker (offensive coordinator/wide receivers).
Brown’s may not have to log into ziprecruiter.com any more for a while, but plenty of other schools are still in the hiring process.
Here is a look at some of those with either Mountaineer or Mountain State ties who have recently landed new jobs.
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A pair of West Virginia natives will charged with continuing the football success at Appalachian State.
Shawn Clark, a native of Charleston and a graduate of George Washington High School, has taken over as the Mountaineers’ head coach after their previous head coach, Eliah Drinkwitz, was hired to lead Missouri.
Clark has big shoes to fill not only in replacing Drinkwitz (12-1 in 2019), but keeping things rolling from other coaches who previous established App State as one of the most successful mid-major programs in the country. Former coaches like Scott Satterfield (32-18 from 2013-18 at ASU before being hire at Louisville), Jerry Moore (215-87 from 1989-2012), Sparky Woods (38-19 from 1984-89 before he left for South Carolina), Mack Brown (6-5 in 1983, then Tulane, North Carolina, Texas and North Carolina again), etc., all made their mark in Boone, North Carolina, before moving on.
Clark was a very good offensive lineman for Appalachian State, graduating in 1998, after which he got into coaching, starting as a G.A. at Louisville. From there he worked as the offensive line coach at Eastern Kentucky (2003-08), Purdue (2009-12), Kent State (2013) before returning to App State as an assistant in 2016. He now takes over as the Mountaineers’ head coach.
One of Clark’s first hires at Appalachian State was another West Virginia native, Mark DeBastiani. A native of Arthurdale in Preston County, DeBastiani will be a defensive coach for App State.
An offensive lineman at Shepherd (W.Va.) University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1994, DeBastiani had previously served as a defensive assistant at Appalachian State (1995-96). He also has coached at Bethune-Cookman (1997-2004), Norfolk State (2005-14), Florida (2015-17), Alabama A&M (2018) and Central Michigan (2019).
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Dana Holgorsen is doing a great deal of juggling within his Houston coaching staff, and much of it features former WVU assistants.
Shannon Dawson had been the tight ends coach at Houston last year, but he will now by the Cougars’ offensive coordinator and quarterback coach. He takes over that role from Marquel Blackwell, who now will coach running backs at UH. Doug Belk, who was the Coug’s co-defensive coordinator last year, will become Houston’s assistant head coach while still working with the safeties. They will be joined at UH by Casey Smithson, who was previously WVU’s defensive recruiting coordinator and now will by Houston’s director of player personnel.
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Former WVU offensive line coach Greg Frey (2007) is going to be the new offensive line coach at Duke.
Frey followed Rich Rodriguez to Michigan following his one season at West Virginia, and after his stint with the Wolverines, he also worked at Indiana, Florida State and Florida. Now he’s headed to Durham.
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Former Mountaineer offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Mike Jacobs (1980-94) died in 2010 at the way-too-young age of 61.
His son, also Mike Jacobs, followed his father into coaching. The younger Jacobs was an offensive lineman at Ohio State (1997-2001), playing part of that time for his father, who took over as the Buckeyes’ offensive coordinator after leaving WVU.
The son enjoyed great success recently as the head coach of Notre Dame (Ohio) College, amassing a 42-8 record in his four seasons leading the Falcons, who are members of the West Virginia-based Mountain East Conference.
After posting a 12-2 mark this past season, which include a run to the NCAA Division II quarterfinals where it ended in a 65-59 shootout loss to Slippery Rock (coached by former Mountaineer tight end Shawn Lutz), Jacobs has moved on to a new program. He is taking over D-II powerhouse Lenoir-Rhyne University of Hickory, North Carolina.
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As for the current Mountaineer football team, Jairo Faverus, the defensive back from Amsterdam, Netherlands, who signed with West Virginia back in December, is now in Morgantown and fully enrolled at WVU.
Faverus joins four other scholarship newcomers who enrolled at WVU for the January semester and are now part the Mountaineer football team. The others are freshman quarterback Garrett Greene, freshman receiver Reese Smith, junior defensive back Jackie Matthews and junior defensive lineman Quay Mays. West Virginia head coach Neal Brown said back on signing day that he expected five newcomers to enroll for the the spring semester, and his prediction has now come true.
In addition, two walk-ons also enrolled at the start of the new semester – juco quarterback Matt Cavallaro and grad transfer receiver Keion Wakefield.
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On the transfer front, some former Mountaineers are finding new homes.
Running back Martell Pettaway recently revealed that he would be spending the 2020 season at Middle Tennessee State, while wide receiver Ricky Johns tweeted out a couple days ago that was headed to the University of Albany. Since Johns is transferring to an FCS program, he can play immediately and will have two years of eligibility remaining. Pettaway will be a fifth-year senior at Middle.
That pair joins four other former WVU players who are transferring to new programs – offensive lineman Josh Sills (Oklahoma State), safety JoVanni Stewart (Houston), receiver Tevin Bush (Nicholls) and safety Kwantel Raines (Temple).
Two other former Mountaineers – tight end Jovani Haskins and quarterback Jack Allison – have not yet announced their transfer destinations.
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Occasionally we’re asked about those former Mountaineer players who are currently coaching in the college ranks.
Here is a list I’ve compiled with the help of others. If you see anyone missing, please let me know.
Jahmile Addae (WVU, cornerbacks)
Curt Cignetti (James Madison, head coach)
Damon Cogdell (Alabama A&M, linebackers)
Chris Haering (Wisconsin, special teams coordinator
Doc Holliday (Marshall, head coach)
Garin Justice (Miami, offensive line)
Bill Legg (Mercer, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks)
Anthony Leonard (Indiana PA, defensive line)
Shawn Lutz (Slippery Rock, head coach)
Jules Montinar (USF, cornerbacks)
John Pennington (WV State, head coach)
JaJuan Seider (Penn State, running backs)
George Shehl (WV State, defensive coordinator)
Ryan Stanchek (Southern Miss, offensive line)
Brandon Tate (West Liberty, tight ends)
Clint Trickett (FAU, co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks)
Pat White (USF, running backs)
Dale Williams (Purdue, offensive line)
Quincy Wilson (WV State, running backs)