MORGANTOWN, West Virginia — At 26-28 overall and 16-23 in Big 12 Conference, Neal Brown has had more than enough time to show that he is not the right head coach to lead the Mountaineers. In a season where he really had to prove himself, West Virginia is 4-3 overall and 2-2 in the Big 12, and that’s simply not good enough for him to keep his job. With that said, West Virginia should begin to look for its next leader of the football program. The following potential candidates would instantly turn the program around and give the Mountaineers the very best chance of competing right now and in the future:
Tony Gibson, Defensive Coordinator, NC State
Why Tony Gibson? West Virginia native who has been an outstanding recruiter and assistant during his long coaching career. He understands the importance of West Virginia football in the state and this would be his dream job.
Why Not Tony Gibson? No collegiate head coaching experience.
Curt Cignetti, James Madison Head Coach
Why Curt Cignetti? He has been ultra-successful as a head coach (48-8 at James Madison, 115-34 overall), James Madison is currently 7-0 and a Top 25 team, he was a former assistant under Nick Saban at Alabama and played quarterback at West Virginia University (where he graduated) from 1979-1982.
Why not Curt Cignetti? He has never been a head coach at a Power 5 Conference school and is 62 years old.
Jahmile Addae, Secondary Coach, Miami
Why Jahmile Addae? Young (39 years old), passionate coach with a ton of respect in the coaching field. He was rated as the #2 recruiter in the nation recently and has incredible rapport with his players. The Mountaineers had one of the best defenses in the country when he was a co-defensive coordinator at West Virginia and he has been successful everywhere he’s gone. He’s a former West Virginia player and captain who knows how much it means for the Mountaineers to win football games.
Why Not Jahmile Addae? No collegiate head coaching experience.
Rich Rodriguez, Jacksonville State Head Coach
Why Rich Rodriguez? In his final three seasons in Morgantown, the Mountaineers were 32-5 and reached unprecedented heights. He’s 15-4 at Jacksonville State and at 60 years old, he has a lot of coaching time left in his career. He clearly has the passion for the game and would desperately love to coach big-time college football again in his home state.
Why Not Rich Rodriguez? He’s too divisive, unfortunately. While many would celebrate his return, a huge portion of West Virginia fans would be completely against it. He has a ton of baggage and hasn’t had much success at the Power 5 level since leaving West Virginia.
Shawn Clark, Appalachian State Head Coach
Why Shawn Clark? Clark, 48, is a relatively young, up-and-coming head coach who has been successful at Appalachian State and has proven that he can upset the big boys. Oh, and he’s originally from Charleston, West Virginia.
Why Not Shawn Clark? He’s too much like Neal Brown. He’s had success, but it’s been in the Sun Belt Conference. Appalachian State finished 6-6 last season and are currently 3-4 this seaosn.