Tony Dews Leaving WVU For NFL Coaching Job
The Mountaineer football coaching staff had been very stable this offseason … until now.
This will be the first foray into the NFL by Dews, who had spent his previous 20 years in the profession in the college ranks. A native of Clifton, Va., and graduate of Liberty University (’97), Dews had worked at West Virginia in several different stints. He had been a graduate assistant for the Mountaineers under Don Nehlen and Rich Rodriguez from 1999-2001. He returned to WVU as the team’s receiver coach in 2007, before following Rodriguez to Michigan (2008-10) and eventually Arizona (2012-16). He came back to West Virginia in February of 2017, replacing Ja’Juan Seider as WVU’s running back coach after Seider took a job at Florida.
With Dews in charge, the Mountaineers rushed for an average of 150.3 yards per game last year, which was fifth among the 10 Big 12 schools.
Dews, who will be Tennessee’s running back coach, joins a Titan staff that will be working for first-year head coach Mike Vrabel. After a 14-year NFL career as a linebacker with Pittsburgh, New England and Kansas City, Vrabel has risen quickly through the coaching ranks. He spent his first three seasons in coach at his alma mater, Ohio State (2011-13), and then served as the Houston Texans’ linebacker coach from 2014-16. He was Houston’s defensive coordinator in 2017. The Akron, Ohio, native was hired as the Titans’ head coach on Jan. 20, and now in assembling his staff, he plucks a Mountaineer.
Since becoming West Virginia’s head coach in 2011, Dana Holgorsen has had a lot of turnover in his coaching staff on an annual basis. He’s had no fewer than two, and upwards of five, assistant coaching changes each year until now. Other than the addition of a 10th assistant in Dan Gerberry, it’s been a very stable year for Holgorsen’s group. Dews is the first member of WVU’s 2017 coaching staff to depart.
Dews isn’t the only former Mountaineer getting a job in the NFL.
According to FootballScoop.com, the Steelers have hired Blaine Stewart as a coaching assistant. Blaine, who split his college days between James Madison and the University of Charleston, is the son of the late West Virginia head coach Bill Stewart. Bill Stewart gave Mike Tomlin his first coaching job at VMI as wide receivers coach in 1995, and now Tomlin is giving Blaine his start in the profession.