WVU Football Coordinator Positions Have Leading Candidates
Neal Brown isn’t letting any grass grow under his feet.
While West Virginia’s 35th football head coach has only been officially on the job for three days, he’s been a bundle of activity. He’s completed working out the details of his WVU contract, made recruiting offers, flown to Morgantown, met the team and toured the facilities. He’s also reportedly closing in on both an offensive and defensive coordinator.
On the latter side, Vic Koenning, a seasoned veteran who had two stints at Troy as defensive coordinator, appears to be gaining momentum as the lead candidate to take over the same spot at West Virginia. Indications of that, and of a decision that current defensive coordinator Tony Gibson will not be retained at least as D.C., have come up from sources both public and confidential over the past two days. One recruit who was recently offered tagged Koenning in a tweet announcing the offer, and director of athletics Shane Lyons, in addressing the sentiments of several players toward keeping Gibson, seemed to indicate that decision had been made.
“Before Coach Brown talked with the team [on Sunday] I met with the team and walked them through the [hiring] process with the student-athletes, and told them their best interests were always kept in the forefront in hiring a coach,” Lyons said on MetroNewsTalkline. “There was indication at that time that Coach Brown would bring his own defensive coordinator and that there would be a change in that position from Coach Gibson.”
That followed along with Lyons’ confirmation that he did not require Brown to retain any WVU coaches.
“I did not handcuff him in that manner. There were no requirements to keep existing coaches,” Lyons said. “We did talk about continuity and maybe keep a couple of guys, but he has to do that and decide what he wants to put together on his staff.”
Offensively, multiple reports are pinpointing Minnesota offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca as heading to WVU to handle the same position on Brown’s staff. West Virginia has been without a coordinator since Jake Spavital left in early December to take the head coaching job at Texas State.
Ciarrocca is a native of Lewisberry, Pa. He connected with Brown while they were coaching together at Delaware in 2005.
Lyons also confirmed that Brown’s budget for his 10 assistants will be approximately $3.5 million, mirroring the total from 2018.
Lyons said much of Brown’s message to the team included the theme that they would be “wiping the slate clean.”
“Now is the time to start building trust,” Lyons said of Brown’s approach. “He understands it’s a grind, but it’s about having fun, too.
“I talked to a couple of the student-athletes after the meeting, and they said they felt re-energized.”