(Photo by WVU Athletics)
Morgantown, West Virginia – Neal Brown just hasn’t got it done in Morgantown. This team is in shambles, and the next athletic director will act quickly to get it on the right track.
With that being said, here are the personal preferences of who we want to be WVU’s next head coach. Brown should be relieved of his duties in the coming weeks, and the Mountaineers will then take off with a national coaching search.
Clark Johnson, Senior Writer, Voice of Morgantown
Here are my personal TOP-5 CHOICES to replace Neal Brown at WVU:
- Tony Gibson (NC State DC) – Tony Gibson has found a lot of success since leaving WVU. Though he has yet to jump at a head coaching opportunity, his chance will almost certainly come his way sooner than later. What better opportunity would he have than leaving the Wolfpack for the Mountaineers? He knows the program, he’s a West Virginian, and he understands what it takes to be successful here. Not to mention his players absolutely adore him. It wouldn’t be popular among some fans, but this one is a no-brainer to me.
- Jahmile Addae (Miami DB Coach) – Though many fans may not like him much right now, I think Addae would be a terrific fit in Morgantown. He can recruit well, his players love him, and WVU had the nation’s best defense when he was a co-coordinator. This would also likely be a dream job for him, so there wouldn’t be much worry about him leaving. You may not like the fit, but I do.
- Matt Rhule (Former Panthers HC) – After going 11-27 with the Carolina Panthers, Matt Rhule has found himself unemployed. His name will be tossed around for the Nebraska job, but Rhule does have West Virginia ties via his wife. This would be a slam dunk hire for the Mountaineers. If anyone could get WVU turned around in a hurry, it would be Matt Rhule.
- Paul Chryst (Former Wisconsin HC) – If WVU wanted to really change things up, they would bring in Chryst. The former Wisconsin Badgers head man has spent time in Morgantown. He began his coaching career at WVU in 1989 and 1990. The style of play he brings with him would also finally give the Mountaineers an identity.
- Rich Rodriguez (Jacksonville State HC) – As much as I hate to add Rodriguez, his success with Jacksonville State this year has really changed my mind on him. Rodriguez led the Gamecocks to a 9-2 record, which included an ASUN Conference Championship. The former WVU head coach has established success at each of his previous stops, with the exception of Michigan. I believe he could be a solid fit with some of the talent on WVU’s roster.
Honorable Mentions: Ja’Juan Seider (Penn State RB Coach), Jamey Chadwell (Coastal Carolina HC), Willie Fritz (Tulane HC), Jon Heacock (Iowa State DC), Hugh Freeze (Liberty HC)
Brad Smith, Publisher, The Voice of Morgantown
- Deion Sanders (Jackson State, Head Coach) – Sanders seems like a major reach and an impossibility, but if he’s having real conversations with USF and Colorado about their coaching jobs, West Virginia would be crazy not to reach out and pursue Sanders too. Bringing Sanders to Morgantown would be a risk – he would likely use the school as a stepping stone and could make the program a complete circus – but the national attention and talented recruits that he would bring to West Virginia makes him a risk worth taking.
- Hugh Freeze (Liberty, Head Coach) – If West Virginia can get him, Freeze is a no-brainer for the Mountaineers. He’s a proven winner at the highest level and would instantly make West Virginia a threat to win the Big 12 Conference. He has worked wonders at Liberty and I believe West Virginia would win 9 games in his first season with the team. Although he signed a big contract extension at Liberty, the buyout is only $2.5 million if he leaves for a Power 5 school. Freeze to WVU makes too much sense if he’s interested, and I think he is.
- Rich Rodriguez (Jacksonville State, Head Coach) – Regardless of your personal feelings of Rich Rod, he took West Virginia to unprecedented heights and he wants to return home. An opportunity like this seems almost too good to be true and what an incredible story it would be! Imagine Rich Rodriguez with Garrett Greene/or Nicco Marchiol as his starting quarterback with a lot of returning talent. West Virginia is a Top 25 team and probably much more next season with Rich Rod returning home.
- Tony Gibson (NC State, Defensive Coordinator) – Incredible recruiter, proud West Virginian, highly-respected defensive mind. Gibson would be an excellent choice if West Virginia can’t land a proven coach like Freeze or Rodriguez. If Gibson could bring a great group of assistants – saying, Pat White as the team’s offensive coordinator and Jahmile Addae as the defensive coordinator – this could be an ideal situation for West Virginia.
- Curt Cignetti (James Madison, Head Coach) – Not a super splashy, sexy candidate, but he’s 40-8 at James Madison, he’s a former assistant under Nick Saban at Alabama, he’s a former West Virginia quarterback and he just might be the exact right head coach to step in and turn the football program around.