Morgantown, West Virginia – The coaching carousel in college football is out of control and if anything has become clear over the last few days, it’s that literally anything can happen right now.
Lincoln Riley’s sudden, shocking decision to leave Oklahoma for USC was only the beginning of a possible domino effect on the rest of college football. For example, Oklahoma now has a vacancy at its head coaching position. Kentucky’s Mark Stoops is considered a top candidate at Oklahoma and if he leaves to coach the Sooners, Kentucky then has an opening. This, of course, could trickle down to West Virginia, where Neal Brown would likely be the #1 option to be the new head coach of Kentucky.
Although nothing is certain, there is a very real possibility that West Virginia could be on the search for a new head coach in the near future, whether Brown leaves for another job or he’s fired for continued poor performance.
Here are the coaches that West Virginia University and Director of Athletics Shane Lyons should have on speed dial if/when Brown needs replaced.
Tony Gibson, Defensive Coordinator, NC State
Call me crazy, but West Virginia football needs someone who knows how important the West Virginia Mountaineers are in the state of West Virginia. Tony Gibson, who was born in West Virginia and coached several years at West Virginia University, knows what the Mountaineers mean to the state.
Despite his lack of head coaching experience, Gibson is an outstanding recruiter and he would restore the pride in the Mountaineers.
Sean Lewis, Head Coach, Kent State
At 35 years old, Lewis is one of the youngest coaches in the FBS. Lewis’ FlashFAST offense is the complete antithesis of Neal Brown’s dry, boring, dull offense, leading the FBS in total offense (606.5 yards per game) and scoring offense (49.75 points per game).
In just his second season, Lewis orchestrated one of the best turnarounds in college football. Kent State’s five-win improvement to 7-6 was tied for eighth-best in the FBS in 2019.
Bonus: He looks like a Mountaineer!
Jason Candle, Head Coach, Toledo
In his seven seasons at Toledo, Candle, 42, is 45-26 overall and 30-16 in conference play. The 2017 MAC Coach of the Year, Candle is one of the hottest young coaches in college football and is ready to take the next step up to a program like West Virginia.
Candle is also a tremendous recruiter and has been named the MAC’s “Recruiter of the Year” in the past.
Jahmile Addae, Defensive Backs Coach, Georgia
Four year starter at West Virginia at defensive back, two-time captain of the Mountaineers and two-time All Big East selection, Addae is the former co-defensive coordinator at West Virginia and in 2020 – his final season at West Virginia before departing for Georgia – West Virginia’s defense was one of the best in the nation, ranked 4th nationally, giving up only 291.4 yards per game.
Although he doesn’t have any head coaching experience, he’s a part of the winning culture at Georgia right now and, like Tony Gibson, understands the importance of the Mountaineers football program to the state.
Discuss who West Virginia should pursue as head coach if Neal Brown leaves in THE MOUNTAIN LAIR below: