WVU’s Brown Continues To Fill Football Staff
WVU head football coach Neal Brown asked for patience as he filled out his first football coaching staff as head of a Power Five program, but there hasn’t been much of that required since his introduction last Thursday. The 38-year old Brown brought two coaches — Vic Koenning and Matt Moore — on his family’s flight to Morgantown on Wednesday, and their official hiring announcements soon followed.
The naming of Chad Scott as an offensive assistant on Saturday soon followed, and Monday afternoon Jordan Lesley was officially tabbed. He will join the Mountaineer coaching staff as an assistant on the defensive side. Brown will announce staff assignments at a later time.
“I am excited that Jordan has decided to come to West Virginia and join the Mountaineer Football Family,” Brown said. “He brings years of outstanding experience as a defensive coach here to WVU and was a valuable member of Vic’s (Koenning) staff at Troy, helping us achieve a lot of success. I’m looking forward to him and his family joining us here.”
Lesley comes with Brown and defensive coordinator Vic Koenning after serving as an assistant coach at Troy for the last three years, the first two years as the defensive tackles coach and the 2018 season as the defensive line coach.
“I’m excited to come to West Virginia and join Neal Brown and Vic Koenning on the Mountaineer football staff,” Lesley said. “West Virginia has had an outstanding tradition and has had some great defenses with a hard-nosed, attacking style on the field. I look forward to helping the Mountaineers continue to build on their success in the Big 12 and nationally. My family and I can’t wait to get started.”
From 2016-18, Troy’s defense allowed 20.8 points per game, ranking No. 4 nationally among non-power 5 schools. In 2018, the Trojans were ranked No. 10 nationally in sacks, No. 16 in tackles for loss, No. 24 in rushing defense, No. 28 in scoring defense and No. 31 in total defense. Three of Lesley’s defensive linemen were named to the All-Sun Belt Conference team, including Trevon Saunders, who earned first-team honors. Troy finished 10-3, tied for first place in the Sun Belt Conference Eastern Division, and defeated Buffalo, 42-32, in the Dollar General Bowl.
The Trojan defense was No. 3 nationally in turnovers gained (31), No. 5 in interceptions (18) and fumbles recovered (13), No. 11 in turnover margin (0.77), No. 21 in red zone defense and tied for No. 28 in first-down defense (240). Troy also led the Sun Belt in sacks, interceptions, turnovers, red zone defense and was No. 2 in rushing defense, total defense. The Trojans were No. 3 in the league in scoring defense.
In 2017, Troy finished No. 3 nationally with a school-record 112 tackles for loss (8.62 per game), while also finishing No. 7 with 3.23 sacks per game. Troy led the nation in red zone defense as the Trojans set a school record for wins, won the Sun Belt Conference championship, ended LSU’s 49-game non-conference home winning streak and defeated North Texas by 20 points in the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.
Troy became just the sixth team in the previous eight years not to allow a play of 50 yards or more over the season. The Trojans established a new school record as they held eight opponents under the 100-yard rushing mark. Troy finished the season No. 7 in rushing defense, allowing only 105.3 rushing yards, No. 11 nationally in scoring defense, allowing just 18.5 points per game and No. 24 in total defense, giving up 336.5 total yards per game. Additionally, two of Lesley’s players earned 2017 All-Sun Belt Conference Second Team honors.
In his first season on staff, Troy’s defense finished the 2016 season No. 2 nationally in passes intercepted, No. 4 in turnovers forced, No. 17 in rushing defense, No. 21 in scoring defense and No. 28 in third-down defense. Defensive end Rashad Dillard was named the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2016; Troy’s first player to win the award since DeMarcus Ware in 2004.
Troy finished the 2016 season 10-3 with a victory in the Dollar General Bowl, the first top-25 ranking in school and Sun Belt Conference history and tied for the best win-improvement in the country.
Prior to Troy, Lesley was the defensive coordinator at East Mississippi Community College in Scooba, Mississippi (2013-15), before serving two stints at Northwest Mississippi Community College in Senatobia, Mississippi, first as defensive line coach in 2010 and then as the defensive coordinator and defensive line coach in 2012. He also spent two stints at Kilgore College in Kilgore, Texas, first as the linebackers coach from 2007-09, and as the defensive coordinator in 2011. He spent a year as a graduate assistant coach at Troy in 2006.
While at East Mississippi, Lesley’s defenses allowed an average of just 10.3 points and 232.1 yards per game as the Lions posted a combined 32-1 record with national titles in 2013 and 2014. Additionally, the Lions tallied 149 quarterback sacks and 57 interceptions in his three seasons.
In his first season at East Mississippi, the Lions recorded an NJCAA-best 67 sacks and finished second nationally with 30 interceptions and by allowing just 9.8 points per game. The 2013 squad held opponents to just 144.3 passing yards and 74.2 rushing yards per game, while scoring eight touchdowns as a defensive unit.
In 2014, East Mississippi’s defensive unit topped the NJCAA by allowing an average of only 7.6 points per game and ranked third with 58 sacks and 21 interceptions. The Lions posted five shutouts for the second consecutive year and went the entire nine-game regular season without allowing a rushing touchdown.
East Mississippi held opponents to just 58.5 rushing yards and 139.6 passing yards, while scoring 10 defensive touchdowns. Even more impressive, the Lions recorded 133 tackles for loss (11.1 per game), 58 sacks (4.8 per game), 21 interceptions (1.8 per game) and 14 forced fumbles.
In his final season at East Mississippi, the Lions held opponents to just 295.6 yards and 14.8 points per game. In nine games, East Mississippi allowed just five rushing touchdowns and recorded 24 sacks.
The 2012 NWCC squad claimed the school’s first bowl victory in 20 years and earned a No. 9 NJCAA final ranking. The 2010 Northwest team posted an undefeated regular season on the way to finishing with a No. 6 national ranking.
Lesley helped lead Kilgore to the 2007 Southwest Junior College Football Conference Championship en route to an appearance in the Heart of Texas Bowl. During his four seasons at Kilgore, Lesley helped direct the Rangers to three consecutive playoff appearances while helping tutor 11 players that went on to sign at four-year schools, including six NJCAA All-Americans.
As a graduate assistant at Troy, he began his coaching career on the 2006 Sun Belt Conference championship team. The Trojans won seven of their last eight games that season, including a 41-17 victory over Rice in the New Orleans Bowl.
Lesley was a versatile player for the Trojans and was a key part of teams that successfully made the transition to the FBS ranks. A two-year starter at tight end, Lesley helped lead Troy to the 2004 Silicon Valley Bowl and was named a team captain.
A native of Fulton, Mississippi, Lesley was a three-time all-district performer at Itawamba Agricultural High School, earning Class 4A All-State Second Team as a senior in 1999.
Lesley and his wife, Ann Katherine, have one daughter, Mary Kate.